tv Public Affairs CSPAN April 1, 2013 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT
>> while we're on this subject, spencer comes from mormon royalty and his father, correct me if i'm wrong, your family dates back to joseph smith, right? and you were in the original group of the inner core of the original mormons and your father was one of the most -- is one of the most important people in the mormon church. of the inner core of the original mormons. the moster is one of important people in the mormon church. >> i do not date back quite that far. my grandfather it joined the mormon church when he was 17 years old. >> ok. you father, i'm glad correcting on the history. this part is correct. your father is one of the senior most officials in the mormon church. >> he is. wasere you surprised there
not more discrimination against mitt romney based on his face than their turn dealt -- faith then there turned out to be? s who were evangelical ald that they cannot vote for mormon. >> is that a surprise the? and not a surprise that they voted for him. they knew they were not going to turn out and work for president obama. toe they actually going mobilize for mitt romney? we are not worry that they were going to leave the republican party and go help president obama. deal with.hing you we talked more about it in the primary. when heney was a mormon became the governor of massachusetts.
this'll be a big problem in the general election. this is something we talked about much more in the primary. >> did it hurt him in the primary? 2008 paved thein way in 2012. there were questions that we got in 2008 that did not exist in 2012. >> let's talk about the online dimension of this. why don't you talk a little bit about the quick donate button and what they sometimes called donating, people
would done it when things went wrong? that bit of a deal? >> it was a big deal that when you're able to get it happening it was a huge help for most people. dide were times of people not want the 10 obama's t- shirts. we would send them back. even when you shop online, it is great when he could to the same site twice. that was great to be able to have that. we raised about a million. quick way for folks to give.
>> there was about a million and our campaign. i know there was a big push to try to get it done early on. i cannot remember when it was. >> can you talk a little bit , the the famous e-mail headline which was which i will be out spent by the president which was tested over and over yieldingually started $12 million in one e-mail. and how cracking the code helped. >> the online community is a
diverse community. we are all part of it. who areard to get folks dealing with everyday things in their lives. we knew that that would work. be this panic. we got this. we have a lot of people. give.d to get them to they could actually out raise us. of doing it over and over again. >> it was better when things were going badly. >> your funder is what down.
went down.ing how important was it to get over the fear of being obnoxious and in knowing with all the e-mails? didn't you end up finding that the more e-mails you send out the day -- sent out the more money came in? you cannot be too obnoxious. >> if someone called and complained that they got the same aforetime is, we would try to help people that were annoyed by a. you had to send out the e-mails to get the money online. >> did you ever figure maybe we should just send more e-mails? he started in with the $3 ask which became very popular. ever noticed that you cannot be too obnoxious? >> yes.
our digital team was constantly sending out e-mails. constantly soliciting online. you try to be creative in how whether it is a contest of some kind soul is not just another e-mail from the campaign. the campaign. you look at how we raised our money at the romney campaign, the finance focus was on the high dollar community. people will say that was a mistake you shouldn't have done that. we tried to get creative in how our leadership team would so solicit fund. we provided e-mails and so it didn't just come from the campaign. if you're the state chair of illinois or market chair for los angeles, you begin to send out solicitation e-mails as opposed to coming from the national campaign.
>> that's interesting, they will send to their business associates and that would be more influential coming from somebody in boston? >> we also created towards the middle of the general election something called a vertical mark program. we ended up raising about $60 million doing this. we realized that governor romney time was at premium when he would travelly to chicago, -- traveled to chicago, we can do an event there. or travel to dallas. he spent some time in boston. we would have him in boston for an extended period. we could contact industry leaders from whether it's the insurance base or the financial services or pick an industry and try to find a uniting issue
around all the leaders would be supportive of. then we used an e-mail from one of those industry leaders saying come and support this event. those were fantastic. that was basically a $65 million gift because we had ceos and other industry leaders trying to leverage other people from within their industry. when someone that is an industry leader and my industry sends me an e-mail rather than the campaign headquarters, i'm much more inclined to respond. >> a skeptic might say those folks were encouraged to get in order to buy favors if mitt romney was elected. how would you respond to that? >> you can certainly say that about every single donor. if that's why someone give that they're going to be disappointed. >> what level do they have to give where they get access? if you're giving $66, you're not
getting access unless you win the lottery to have dinner with the president or something like that. what level in the romney campaign did you get an audience with the candidate? >> towards the end of the campaign, there really were no audience with the candidate. he will show up and do events but there were no events with less than several hundred people set drug. it wasn't exactly one on one audience with the candidate. but we would use issues that were important to that industry and encourage a leader in that industry to bring others in because of two or three issues based on what governor romney feel on that issue versus president obama. you would use broad issues as opposed to detail policy. mr.let's talk about super pacs. neither were your campaigns allowed to coordinate with the
super pacs. you guys liked your smaller super pacs that weren't yours. you had bill burton doing on behalf of the president. you kind of liked what he was getting done. but in boston, not so much. you weren't thrilled with -- feeling like the super pac spending was getting its money worth. >> the law said you can't coordinate with the super pac. that's uncomfortable place to be, there's some group out there that's running an ad, they had no communication with you and they can be going down a road that we have no interest in talking about. there's always an element of surprise when it comes to a super pac, good, bad or indifferent.
>> especially when there are a bunch of them. you guys had one. >> right. >> we weren't on the same page at all. >> towards the end, they finally figured out. they realized they couldn't communicate with the campaign. they can actually communicate with each other. towards the end, they started communicating with each other and that really helped. in the primary, you could say the super pac was the restore our future super pac played a big role on behalf of governor romney. remember he lost south carolina to newt gingrich. he had ten day or so before we had to go to florida. not a lot of campaign cash at that point. this was late in the primary. we had raise and spent a lot of money. remember, you can't spend the
general election money. the super pac outspent in florida by probably 10 to 1. you can say that had a big impact in the state of florida for governor romney winning florida. >> right. a lot of that was also taking out gingrich. 90% of that was negative. >> sure. >> what was the worst moment for you? was it june when you realized that spencer, in the month of may, it outraised you for may be going the second time barack obama whole history in presidential politics? were you surprised you got beat? >> yes, it was like a punch in the gut. we're used to winning the money game. when i was invited to speak here, i was so excited to meet
spencer. we figured out this money thing. it's a little bit harder this time than 2008. then when they did so amazingly well, -- we're going to have more donors. it was a good lesson. >> i think jim messina described it as a hockey stick, it's going like this and it went like that. were you confident that that was going to happen? >> yes, we were always confident that was going to happen. they raised about $440 million the digital team. most of that was raised in the last two months of the campaign. >> wow. what was your worst moment in terms of -- was it that same period when you weren't sure -- when you couldn't use legally or general election?
>> it was when i first read that president obama was going to raise a billion dollars. that, oh my goodness, we are going to be massively outspent here. there was sort of discussion, do we take public finance. what are we going to do? there was this element of this has never been done before but they said they will do it and can we match them. that was the first big moment of we can be in trouble. the other was when we were raising money in the general election before governor romney was the nominee. just to explain how that works, when you are the primary candidate you can raise money in $2500 increments. remember we raised and spent $100 million to win the primary. the obama campaign could raise money for the primary but they didn't have a primary so they can use that money to attack governor romney and build a general election strategy.
we start with a $100 million deficit basically and that money is gone and now we're in april or may. governor romney is the presumed nominee the gavel hasn't gone down at the convention. we're raising general election money but we're not allowed to spend it legally. that was a very -- >> does that mean all future republican conventions will be in june so you don't have that? >> if you can get it done in june or may for that matter, from a fundraising standpoint it would be fantastic. >> the party that usually supports campaign finance reform opted out of the rules, starting in 2008 and you guys were kind of handcuffed by these rules that you also didn't support. you took the handcuffs off. now, there was a lot of criticism of that. do you think that the campaign
contributed to the sort of just of wash in money. for 30 years we had limitations during general election campaigns when both parties accepted public financing. is it fair to say that barack obama blew up the public financing system? >> no, we just knew we would have more flexibility with the amount of money we could raise. we knew we would be able to do that because of the decision we made knowing that would likely be the case. >> you end up being less worried about citizens united as time went on. early on it was a big concern and then when you saw that super pacs were not spending money so well on the other side, became less of concern? >> spencer is right, had they
figured out earlier that they could communicate and one of them could take florida and one of them could do something else, that would have made us more concerned. it just didn't get the traction that we saw. we were able to still build the low dollar fundraising. >> is it part of it that the money, this would be for both of you, that the money raised by super pacs, only works on television? if doesn't give you edge on the ground. if somebody goes to a door and knocks and say i'm here for restore our future and they go what is that. it doesn't translate on the ground and whatever limitations there are with tv advertising especially people time shift more and don't watch television used to. might mean the super pacs don't
have much influence that we assumed a couple years ago. >> i wouldn't say tv advertising, advertising in general. to think that a super pac can take the place of a field operation from a campaign, i think it's -- you can't replace the value of somebody knocking on a door making a phone call and saying, i'm calling from the romney for president campaign or obama for america campaign, because you represent the campaign. you represent the candidate. you're exactly right. what reason do people have -- there's no brand built around a super pac. it's simply an a.t.m. to advertise. >> when did you realize that you were going to get beaten on the ground? was that after the election that you understood how good the obama ground game was?
>> for me, there was never an expectation that we would win the ground game. that wasn't the -- the obama campaign, the democratic party for years has been able to have an unbelievable ground game. what was frustrating to me what i didn't know until afterwards is that we didn't really have a good sense of what the obama campaign was actually doing on the ground. i'm fine getting beaten on the ground but i'm not okay with not having good intelligence about what the other side is doing. that's the part that was frustrating. >> in terms of the online, in terms of the digital part, did you just feel like you got beat on that on the digital side? >> well, the obama campaign and julianna can speak to this in greater detail, did a great job bringing in talent from the
digital world. i suspect if you looked at the digital department at the obama for america campaign, was a lot of people had no experience in politics but a lot of experience with the digital world. we had people that were experienced in the digital world but probably because of the association with politics. that's something that quite republican have to take a hard look at. the republican party does not completely reexamine its ability to build a digital team. they need to go to silicone valley and start going on a recruiting mission and saying what can we do to get digital leaders involved in the republican party. we will never catch up. it's not going to be built by people that are involved in politics and have a side hobby of technology. it has to be people with an expertise in technology. >> in book i'm reading, called
"the geek gap" whatever reason you guys were not able to attract the code writers and the other people under 30 understand social networking and understand analytics. when there was a proposal to do something in a bigger way, more like chicago, in boston, person making the proposal said we can't do this in boston because there are not enough republican gigs to get it done. we'd have to have the operation in salt lake city. that was the original proposal. how do you go about closing the geek gap? >> think this is a party issue going forward. the party, i know they are doing this, that's something they're taking a hard look at.
what can we actually do to close that gap. there are some things that are happening right now. i don't respect the -- represent the party so i can't speak to those specific things the party is doing. everyone is well aware of it and very focused on it. pointing out that there is a gap, i don't think it's news to anyone to the republican party. the question is what will they do about it. >> on the democratic side, is it really true that the people with no experience in politics came from the tech world in chicago, made major contribution or was it more the people who had some experience in politics and some digital experience were the ones that you got the better performance out of? >> i think it was a combination. we have a lot of wonderful folks that we recruited from the tech world. their first love was technology
and they decided to come over to politics. lot of the folks will come over to network gotv web and it was kind of interesting. as any campaign, you figure out how to work together as a team. there's the tech world, i couldn't understand them a lot of the time. but they worked together and figured it out and we're successful. a lot of them didn't come from the same backgrounds that we ultimately -- >> could you talk a little bit about the facebook targeted sharing program and how that worked? >> they were always working on that. >> but facebook ended up being a big deal right? >> right, it was a huge deal. that's how we communicated with a lot of folks. i don't know all the detail about it. >> we're going to open this up
for questions. how is this going to change in 2016? let's start on the republican side, you talk about building a different kind of model that uses the web more. does the republican party have to go through a full transition on this? or do you think four years from now, it will still mostly high network individuals? >> i think pretending it's whether republican or democrats pretending whoever runs in 2016, the best technology is not going to create a cause for that candidate. i think that's the thing that people have to remember. the cause is built by the message. the technology simply enables that and gets people involved.
that really doesn't happen until much later in the campaign. so it's two individuals decide to run for president in the primary on the democratic side, they are going to have to the build a high dollar network. if they think they're going to be able to go out and just have this digital go from a campaign to a cause and have and match the number that's julianna is talking about $66 per contributions that's not going to happen. >> it's much like a start-up. same thing is true in 2007? >> right. >> how do you think, hillary clinton or whoever is the democratic candidate four years from now, what's the next generation on the democratic side? >> i think there will be a lot of tools. you have to have the major donors component. there are still people want to give money to see the candidate.
folks that can write $30,000 checks aren't going to probably go online and give. some folks do but they rather go to a dinner and see the nominee or the candidate. but, it's smart to start the microtargetting. you have to know that information early on. that's the kind of stuff you can know and know what mode. >> do you know who george clooney fans were? >> you can probably get to that without all the analysis. we didn't know that for that george clooney event. i went and it was great. >> they had a section of the campaign called the dave --
cave. can the cave figure out who will be more interested in invitations. it was getting closer to that. it was more when we started how folks wanted to be communicated with. >> i think we're at the part of the program where we can take some questions. >> first in the case of super pacs will there be a conflict of interest when the campaigns tap into the same donor base. shifting after the election, recently the "new york times" reported that new -- organizing
for action is having a direct million dollar mark and mr. jay carney addressed with a couple press meetings. any of you like to comment on that. not from a specific case but hypothetical sense. how is the former campaign money machine being operated in terms of access or policy making? >> we're still in the process of putting it together. we're still working on that. we're still working on it. >> you stated you believe in c4s. if you were going to raise this kind of money, it should be all be disclosed. >> we won't be taking money from lobbyist or pacs.
>> if c4, how do you know whether you're taking money from lobbyist or pacs? >> we'll do a vet for them. >> just sort of decode this a little bit, c4, technically you don't have to disclose your donors. where is the transparency in that? >> well, technically, you don't have to put on your website who our donors are and we did that too. we're still in the phases of figuring all of that out. i know this is lame answer but that's what we're doing >> on the super pac question for you, in terms of competition for donors, there's a limit what somebody can give to the campaign. what we would always tell donors, they should max out their entire contribution to the romney campaign and the party before engaging in any discussion with super pacs.
i'm sure that there are plenty of people that donated to the super pac that didn't end up giving to the campaign but i would imagine that's a pretty small slice of people. gow to the imagine if -- you got to imagine if somebody gave $100,000 to a super pac to support governor romney, chances are it's a big supporter and believe in the campaign and therefore also contribute to the campaign. super pacs were created for people to give above and beyond to the campaign finance laws. >> we know what the democrats think about this. after the 2012 election, how comfortable are you with the fact that both your presidential candidate and vice presidential candidate went to kissed the ring of sheldon adelson. it came out the other day his company, the sands corporation, admitting in filings with the securities and exchange commission that they violated
the foreign corrupt act and engaging in bribery overseas. aren't there some real problems for society when you have billionaires who can essentially give unlimited amounts of money. he gave over $100 million to those super pacs. isn't that troubling for you at all? >> you have to separate the issue, saying somebody who is a donor has admit something to the security and exchange commission, it's unfair to say that the campaign shouldn't associate with that individual when we're not told that information ahead of time. we do a very good job of vetting all the contribution. every bundler every time we go to someone's home, we do research to make sure to know if there's anything there that can possibly embarrass the campaign. with thousands of people serving
as bundler and donors, you're going to end up taking a contribution from someone who may openly have to refund. >> i guess the larger question i'm trying to get at over here is whether there's any -- the republican party is going through a lot of reassessments now. even though you had good standards for who can give and you vetted them carefully. enormous, you -- nonetheless, you had four or five billionaires giving unthinkable amount of money. >> so did the democrats. >> i don't think we had anybody at that level. >> do you have anybody that gave more than $10 million? not this
time but in 2004, george soros gave a huge amount of money. i'm going to get more cosmic issue here whether this is good for democracy or not on other side? >> the law is the law. right now with the citizens united, the law says an individual can basically write unlimited check to a super pac 527 organization. it would require a conversation from both sides, republicans and democrats saying what should the law be going forward as it relates to campaign finance. should it be people can give unlimited amount with complete disclosure. can there be campaign limits and no super pac? that's in discussion i think
both sides have to have. you can't just say republicans are the party of big money where we're going to get people writing million dollar checks. that happens on both sides of the aisle. there's plenty of data to show that. i would be open for discussion with both parties saying what actually works going forward. i would be in favor of complete disclosure. it happens with the unions as well. the idea that the democratic party can raise hundreds of millions of dollars from unions with little to no disclosure, is no difference than somebody writing a large check. >> anything else? >> hi, my long term goal is to work for the gop in the next presidential race in 2016 as part of the a political
communications team. i have a question. i started out in the collegiate debate how to frame issues. coming back from there, i interned for the romney campaign with dan rutherford as well as did a recent internship in london. i find myself loss on what steps i need to take next to be involved in presidential race. given both of your extent experience in politics, what would you advise me as my next few steps request >> lot of people want to know that. how do you get into this game? >> what i would do is try to get on a campaign for 2014. that's the great thing about campaigns. i've been doing it for a long time. i'm old. the great thing about it, i started out fundraising when i was 22.
you get a promotion, if you're get at it, you get a promotion every two years. i would say get involved with a campaign this cycle. you can do something for 2013 and you can go do a senate race may be in 2014. then you would be somebody i would think any of the republican candidates would want to pick up for 2016 because of the experience you would have gained in the past few years. >> i agree with that. i think picking a candidate and picking one early is the advice i would give you. a lot of folks say, i don't want to pick the wrong one. i want to make sure i'm with the winning ticket. regardless, pick someone who you believe will be the best person for the job and the great thing about campaign you find a lot of young people are given responsibility well beyond their years. if you do a good job for that candidate, you will take on more and more responsibility but don't wait around to try to
figure out who the actual nominee is going to be. pick someone early. at the end of the day that person doesn't win the nomination, you will be the top of the list. i look at people we hired at the romney campaign, we had a lot of people who worked on other campaigns in the primary. don't worry about whether that person will be the nominee. pick a candidate who you believe in and go to work for them. >> i would agree to that. i was in d.c. in 2006. i helped democratic senate campaign committee when we took back the majority. then senator obama said to me, if i do this, you will go with me right. i said sure. that right there, i decided to go with obama over clinton. before i even asked any of the questions, what was your biggest fundraiserrer. i got this lady out in san diego who raised me $35,000. i'm like great. i'm going up against the clinton
machine who had a database of 20,000 names in it, not e-mail addresses. i really believed he would be the best democratic nominee and hopefully president. i did that and it's been a fun ride. i would agree with you definitely. >> i had not had any experience on a political campaign but to reinforce that point, i joined governor romney working for him at the olympics in salt lake city. i'm going to run for governor massachusetts, would you come out and work on my campaign. i had no interest in politics at that point. i said no, i'm not interested. i've got a job in new york. i told my wife, she said are you nuts, tell him we're moving to boston. we moved to boston, three years later, he asked me to be his national finance director for the campaign. when i moved to boston, i had no idea what finance fundraising
was. pick someone you believe in. >> how cold were you at -- how old were you at that point? when you started with him when you first went to boston? >> 23. >> then you became finance director at what age? >> i guess i was 26. i was 22 when i first left >> wow, that's pretty amazing. >> i like to come back to a question that was covered you think it may be even covered even more. that's the issue of funding from smaller donors that really can't start until the nominee is the presumed nominee. yet that funding is much more effective in terms of advertising what it buys terms of grassroots. both parties are going to be in that situation in 2016 with the
primaries. knowing what you know about how this works, what can a candidate do or how can the party somehow get things going before people really are willing to step up? even if the conventions are in july or i can't quite that, earlier, there's going to be this big problem after that where small donations are going to be particularly important. mr.zwick, you faced this after the republican convention. advertising had to go quiet there for a period which was kind of a critical period during the democratic convention and soon after that. any thoughts that either of you have about how that can be handled? >> can we straighten out a cup of the facts. you weren't under any limitations at the democratic convention? it was after the republican convention. you could have advertised as
much as you wanted any time after the republican convention is just your plan was to do more of it late in september and october? >> that's right. >> the limitations that the law provide around high donors not small donors. if you have a small donor base, none of these limitations apply. so called people maxed out in the primaries that their dollars can't be used until general election right? >> [indiscernible]. >> the republican party used to have a bigger donor base in the 1990's. >> what you need is time to build that up as the presumed nominee. i don't want to put allly blame on the party. you have to point out the fact that having 20 debates and having 10 candidates on the
stage, everyday that you go on prevents someone from emerging as the leader of the party. i'm talking about the republican party here. people are waiting to get involved. once people knew governor romney was the presumed nominee, that's when the low dollar checks started to come in. as long as we have 20 debates and this drawn out republican primary process, we will suffer from got -- not getting the smaller dollar contribution. >> we'll run into that in 2016. that happened with the 2008 race for us as well. senator obama was a different candidate than a lot of your typical candidates. >> you don't think there's any chance in the next four years to get any kind of new rules that may be empowers small donors?
change the rules in way that benefits democracy? >> that would be great. >> there are a lot of localities that have matching programs now and including in some republican areas like arizona that are very popular at the local level. is that something that we can hope for? >> it would be great. i don't see that happening between now and the next presidential race. >> right. >> thank you for coming. i have a question about the smallest campaign that you ever were a part of? do you remember which one that is? i don't know the answer. >> probably my own when i ran for student class president.
my freshman year. i didn't win. i didn't have to raise any money for that either. >> i guess the first campaign you were raising money for a statewide office or a representative in the house. what's the difference between beyond just scale, what are the differences between those types of races? >> well, when i first started fundraising the internet had not been invented. it was all phone calls. i worked for lieutenant governor mark from pennsylvania and then the mare of d.c. it was making phone calls for eight hours a day. that's how you did it back in the day. you will print invitations and do stuffing parties at night and mail out hard invitations to
invite people to the event. it was crazy. >> what do you think it is that makes you want to do something that most people hate doing raising money? >> i think it's kind of fun. it's black and white. if you were having an event tonight, you can say people will not come. we will not make our goal because of that. you can make the excuses but with the dollar figure it's black and white. if the goal is $10,000, you raised $8500, you didn't reach your goal. it's all about figure out how to make your goal. >> i would agree, on a political campaign, everyone wants to be and thinks they're the strategist. every donor believes they got the idea that's going win the race. nobody comes to offer a lot of ideas for fundraising.
great thing about fundraising, you can measure it. we had a saying in -- i had a thing on my wall that said, if you can't measure it, you can't manage it. we like to measure everything that we did in the finance shop. it's harder to measure things when there's an election day so far out. every month we were able to measure fundraising. how we were doing versus the obama campaign. we had daily metrics every morning with every one of our state directors and they to report in much money they had in hand that day. i loved that and you can measure it and you're adding real value to the campaign along the way. you want to get involved with a political campaign, now it sound like i'm doing a commercialtor a fundraiser, go show the campaign that you're willing to help raise money and you will be welcomed with open arms. >> i fully agree with that.
>> how do you think rahm emanuel got his start? isn't that the way he got started >> he is a great fundraiser. phenomenal. >> anybody else have a question? i want to double check on your age. i'm still blown away by it. how old are you now? >> 33. >> don't ask me jonathan. >> i'm retiring from politics >> until you run right? >> there will not be a race here. >> it is interesting, fundraiserring is a way that most people think about that most people don't want to do. for those trying to get involved in politics, if you have the talent for it or the stomach for it, it can be pretty good way into the game. tell us a little bit about mitt
romney's future since you know him pretty well. he just did an interview. he's going to speak at cpac. what do you think his role in the republican party going forward? >> let me first say that working for governor romney while the outcome wasn't what i and many others hoped it would be, it was an honor and privilege to work for that man. he is a man of decency be he's a man of integrity and that's what attracted me to governor romney and his family. i would not have dedicated the amount of time and the years that i did. this isn't what i do. raising money for political campaigns isn't what i thought what i be doing. i did this because i believed in mitt romney and the person i thought would be a great president. when you lose a campaign particularly for president, there are aren't a lot of case studies. you can't look and say, well,
what if someone that is not current an office holder that already built a very successful career and then loses the presidency go and do next? it's not go back to the senate, it'll not go -- it's not go back and be governor. i can tell he's not going to go away. we spent close a billion dollars building a cause and almost half the country turned out and supported his candidacy. there's got to be something there. you haven't seen the end of mitt
romney. >> take us back to election night a little bit. it's not that dramatic on the democratic side. you all were surprised that you lost. why were you surprised? why did that happen? >> i was surprised depends on what point of the election night going into election day, i had spent five days on the road with governor romney campaigning all over the country. when you show up and you see 50 and 60,000 people coming together at the end of a campaign, you can't help but feel the momentum is moving in your favor and you're going to win. some of the people would say the polling was off. it's not that we made up in our minds, we had polling that told us that things looked -- >> let me interrupt you on that for a second, is it right the polling models used 2004 results
odds. you saw some movement in the polls at the end of the race based on hurricane sandy. would that have changed the outcome, i'm not suggesting that. there were events towards the end of the campaign you can look to. if someone from the romney campaign say i knew we will lose because of the data, they were lying to you. the fact is, i thought we were going to win. >> at what time in the evening did you realize that you weren't going to win? >> when virginia -- first florida was looking much closer than we thought. folks in florida, said we will win florida. that created some pause for all of us. but when virginia was taking so long, if you ask me at that moment, i wouldn't have said we were going to win.
i wasn't prepared to give up at that point. >> when karl rove came on, did that give you new hope. >> no. i heard the numbers from ohio. he may have called president obama when that was happening. >> there was an hour after that before it was a concession -- >> there was some confusion in ohio and colorado. we said, let's be certain. when it was clear that -- >> it was clear governor romney was more rational about the whole thing? some people were saying let's hold out. he was saying, we lost. >> one thing about governor
romney he is, by definition a very data driven rational thinker. you won't see him get -- he doesn't make decisions by emotion. clearly there were people that didn't want to admit this is over. governor romney always one to look at the data and let the data make the decision. >> this is one of the things that anybody has any other questions, jump in any time -- this is one of the thing that interest me the most. you describe himself a data driven and numbers guy, could you make an argument there was this role reversal in 2012. it was the obama campaign that ran a bain campaign where everything was data driven. everything was about the metrics. the romney campaign seeing big crowds, feeling big sense of momentum, ran essentially a hope
that people want change campaign and they ran the more kind of a facts rather than data. >> i don't think it was fair to say there was not data on the romney campaign. there were plenty of data and we were measuring plenty of things. we may have had the wrong data and made decisions based on wrong data and changing demographics and using old models to look at that. certainly made decisions based on data. our polling information that had us winning was wrong. the data was still there. >> give us a little insight into how democrats kind of got their act together? they used to be so much worse at
politics than republicans. if you go back to 1984 when president bush was reelected and they ran a better get out the vote operation. it's true that the democrats had george soros and think couldn't get over the finish line. what changed in the dna in the democratic party that got them to get their act together? >> we started earlier. jim messina our campaign manager -- fundraising is what we do. everyday we see where we are. but the whole campaign was doing that. mitch, stewart, jeremy, everyday they say how many phone calls we made. we hear it every morning with our senior staff. it mattered and think we started
measuring the one on one contact very early. we started in 2007 and 2008 and carried over some of it into the d.n.c. >> that was a brilliant thing about the obama campaign, much of that activity never ended. it continued and governor romney became the nominee at the convention but he was really the presumed nominee probably in april or may. you really have a five year period to build up and to use this data versus a six month period of time. this is where i think a conversation has to take place and hopefully the republican party, think the republican party did a good job of getting themselves out of debt and being able to have an infrastructure ready to go for governor romney. there was no real data.
there was nothing -- other than being able to get people to write larger check, it wasn't available available for us as a party. the obama campaign had five years to build this one, which was brilliant insight and thinking on their part. >> was there a sense at the end that the primaries forced romney too far to the right and that was hard to get back to the center? >> he'd already >> he had gone through the primary process in 2008. >> in the interview the other night, he said that we did not reach out enough's to minorities. he kind of painted himself into a corner on immigration in the primaries. >> when you have 10 candidates standing up on stage and in order make news, one candidate raises his or her hand to move
the entire party -- party for the to the right, that dynamic is only going to dry out the primary process. it would have been graded during the primary, the republican leaders would have said here is the republican party's position on immigration as opposed to letting 20 different candidates voice a position and move each other further to the right. >> on that note, we will bring unbelievably and lightning conversation to a close. thank you so much. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> coming up shortly, an encore presentation of our series " first ladies'."
we will begin with a look at the life of what martha washington and that will be followed by abigail adams, and dolly madison, elizabeth monroe, louisa catherine adams, rachel jackson, emily donaldson, and angelica van buren. tyler becomes first lady after her husband assumes the presidency. we will have your questions and comments about these three first ladies by phone, facebook, and twitter live tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern. it is also on cspan radio and c- span.org. ♪ martha washington was george
washington's confidante that she was absorbed and capable but she did not like that. she called herself a prisoner of state. talk,ry step washington so, in a very real sense, can it be said that everything marshall brent -- martha washington did likewise. >> it was a business-like relationship but not without respect and affection. this wholeed most of block going back a couple of acres which means she owned a huge chunk of what williamsburg was. tragedy and of martha washington's life. she lost her husband. >> she was raised a rich woman and what that meant in the 18th century is not what it means today. >> when she married george washington, she brings with her to mount vernon, 12 house slaves and that is really almost an
unimaginable luxury. occur 10 days to travel here to valley forge from mount vernon in her carriage with her slaves and servants with her and this was a difficult journey. >> her experience had not prepared her to be -- had been pared her to become the first lady. the, va.,n ducamp town she was 57 years old when she and george washington left mount vernon in service to the country. this time, their destination was the york city, selected as the nation's first the began the first of their two terms as president and first lady of united states, something important precedents for their successes in the white as a very good evening and welcome to the brand-new series," first lady's l: plants and image. we will spend time with each of the women who served in that role in the white house as a window into american history. our first installment is what --
is martha washington. we'll try to serve up the essential martha washington. with two people will have come to know her well. richard norton smith whose biography of george washington is called "patriarch." and patricia brady. why does martha washington matter? >> she was the first and she was one of the best. those things always count. she was able to help george washington make it through the american revolution and than two awful terms of president. she was his helpmate, always. >> this concept for this service was something that you championed early and were a guiding light into how cspan might do it. what was your thought as a story about why studying first ladies should matter in this society we live in today? >> first of all, we don't know enough about them as
individuals. we don't know enough about them for the windows that open. we don't know enough about them as individuals. we don't know enough about them for the windows that they open upon their particular periods. individually they are fascinating. it seems to me they provide a way of tracing women's history but also the history of the country and any number of political and other institutions as well. ultimately, i suspect our viewers will be surprised by a lot of the information that they hear over the next year. these are surprising stories that we will be telling. >> we went on location to a number of sites important to her biography and during the next 90 minutes, we'll show you the video. this will be interactive and we will begin taking phone calls in a little while and tell you how
you can be part of the conversation. if you can join immediately by social media. you can send us a question or comment. questionok, we have a posted for you of anything you would like to talk about in martha washington's time or life. we welcome your participation. we will spend the first 50 or 20 minutes on the two terms in the white house. house about the presidential in new york city. 1789, she comes to new york city a few months behind newark -- george washington. tell us what kind of opinion the american public had of these two people as they took this important role? >> the opinion had begun with a revolution. at that point, when martha would ride to join her husband as she did every year in the winter
camps, that -- people would just line up behind every tree and on every fence post to look at her. she said she felt as though she was a very great somebody. she was somebody for the first time as his wife. the newspapers reported how important it was for him to have her. they started than when they came back as president and his lady, the public already had an opinion of them. they were singular characters. the other politicians were not in the same ballpark at all. >> it -- give people a sense of how hard it was to make the basic decisions about how the new government would function including this world? . >> the decisions about what a republican or a president was bore -- are inseparable from what we would perhaps
condescendingly today a tribute to the east wing of the white house. for instance -- would the president and first lady accept private dinner invitations? would the president and first lady go to private funeral? what do you call the president? indeed, what do you call his consort? the reason why these questions would seem trivial us today and a matter is that each one in their own way to find the nature of this new government which was, after all, to some degree, a spin off from its royal antecedents and yet the country was split right down the middle between those who feared that it was in any way aping georg roman number 3. iii. >we still have a dichotomy about
what a president was. how close could a president and his wife get to us? the fact that mrs. washington had a friday night reception every week that anyone could walk into as long as they were deusen addressed -- you would not find that in london. herelped to define not only role but, in a larger sense, the access that americans would have to their president. thatat is the only model the washing tons and the rest of the found the government had were the very european monarchies they fought a revolution to distance themselves from -- where did the washington's draw other examples from? >> they talked about. people see washington as the strong, marble leader. he was more than a statute. he always liked to talk to his associates. that is one reason he was criticized as a general because he liked to talk to his staff
before making a decision. in government, he thought all the best minds of the country would get together, talk things through, and make the right decision. because we were the first modern republic. it is hard to understand that there was nobody like us so what ever they did mattered. it was important theme let's take a snapshot of that modern republic with some basic facts. this was from the first census ever done by the new country. the census maker was thomas jefferson. here are some facts and they gathered about the new united states. the 13th former -- initial states had a population of under 40 million. years of war had reduced the per
capita income. if you translate that into $2,013, $11,500. the largest cities in the country were new york, philadelphia, and boston. what would week -- what should we learn about those three large cities? >> two of those 13 states were not yet members of the union. north carolina and rhode island held back when the rest of the union adopted a constitution. overwhelmingly a rural, rustic, agrarian, form- based society. it ended at the appalachian mountains. in 1800, there were three roads. that crossed. the united states was a nation in name only. it was, in fact, three estate nations -- new england, the middle states and the south and each of them had one major city.
philadelphia was the largest city in the nation with all of 40,000 people. one of the things that martha washington found not altogether to her liking was the fact that she was operated -- of rude -- uprooted from the agricultural life at mount vernon that she knew and had been born into and that she had mastered in many ways and relished. it is only the latest chapter of a sacrifice which, in its own way, i think you could argue matches anything her husband sacrificed. >> that's true, she did not want to go to a city. she did not want to live in the north. she want to be home at mount vernon. but she had to be there with her husband to do what her husband wanted to do. she gave it up. the thing that made her so very unhappy was to discover that
once she got there, washington had consulted with john j. and adams andson and john they had all decided that president could have no personal life -- that any entertainment, and they going to visit people, and having people in was in fact republic act so they could not just go hang out with their friends or ask their friends over and that was just the first year. the first year was terrible for her at the same time it was pretty good for him. jefferson had not come back from paris yet. that was probably his honeymoon with the presidency. >> let me give you this quote -- " to the public place. i feel more like a state prisoner.
>> there is a line over that that some of the car over the entrance to the white house which goes to the heart of who this woman was. and why she was the ideal first first lady. -- she said experience in her life had taught her that her happiness or misery depends upon our disposition and not our circumstances. that is a remarkably wise observation but it is an observation distilled from a life full of tragedy. she had lost a husband. she lost all four of her children. she lost countless nieces -- >> all of her sibling's. >> absolutely, and then she found herself repeatedly
expectedthe life she to follow george on the battlefield or a different kind of battlefield. together with very little precedent, they devised this new government. >> but she chose to follow him. this is a mark of their partnership. >> they were very much partners. he was so miserable until he could get her to join him wherever he was. i was going to say the quote about being a prisoner of the state -- that was about the first year in new york and that was a bad year when she was still having to follow the rules of the men. they home to -- when it went home to mount vernon, short on her husband so that went to philadelphia the next year, the rules were changed. she was not a prisoner. ofwas on a month-long tour
the northern states. attempting to unite the country. she was depressed and by yourself. she was much less happy at that time than any other time, really. >> once she moved to philadelphia and became happier because the restrictions are lifted, although she lived in philadelphia society, we will show you a video from philadelphia and get a sense of martha and george washington's like they're in the second capital of the united states. >> is here that martha washington carved out the role of what the wife of the president of united states should do. some of the social events that martha washington would have been responsible for overseeing our state dinners that were held weekly on thursday as well as the drawing room reception that martha washington personally organized every friday evening. the state dinners would have
been events that marked the would have helped to coordinate. these took place on thursday, every week. just above this dining room on the second floor, was a drawing room. that is where martha washington held her drawing room receptions on fridays. those events were a little more informal as compared to the state dinners and george washington was always in attendance. socialably preferred the engagements on friday it rather than the ones in this room because they were in formal in nature. public and to the and one of social standing was welcome to attend. most people remarked that george washington was more at ease with his wife at his side. we know martha washington lived among the household of as many as 30 people which included
servants and enslaved people from mount vernon. one of the most well-known was onie judge. she was the personal made to martha washington, it is likely that she would have slept right here in the house. in that time that martha washington was in philadelphia, onie judge runs away to claim her freedom. this was a major blow to martha washington. she felt very betrayed. she had promised onie judd her granddaughter once married. >> washington's life in philadelphia -- do you want to comment about that? >> i want to say something about sappy 19th century images. the 19th century liked the idea of having an almost regal republican court here. those was no dais to in rooms. in no place where they raised
above each other. she did not stand. she sat and that people and then walked around the room. the idea that it was somehow so rigell is so wrong. it was not. >> it is so frustrating that anyone who has dealt with the primary sources from this period are grateful for what we have that we are constantly hungry for more. we have countless second-hand reports from events like this and they are unanimous. everyone talks about what a charming conversationalist martha was. and how she was always cheerful and always interested in her guests. beautiful teeth, not many had beautiful teeth back ben. >> as we talk about her interior action with the public, the
slaves that they brought with them -- we just heard the story of onie judge and that is a good entry point to talk about their relationship with enslaved people. >> when they married, they felt the same. they had grown up in virginia, a good part of the wealth of virginia was built on the labour and persons of enslaved black people. they agreed with it. at that time, washington was rather strict with his legs. as time went on, his views started to change. he was the only one of the founding fathers who freed his slaves. the rest kept them until they died. her opinions did not change. it was unfortunate. i wanted it to be different and i read every word i could find. the one slave that she actually owned personally, she did not free. she left her to her grandson. the truth is, she felt it was
the way society was supposed to be. down ande had let her she had been kind to her and she did not understand that onie wanted to be free and learn to read and write and that she wanted to find christ in her own way >> and many ways, it can be said of washington that he outgrew the racist culture that produced him. one major reason was because during the revolution, after having initially turned thumbs down to the idea of recruiting free blacks, the fact of the matter is that african-americans played a vital roles in the winning of the revolution. washington saw firsthand what these people were capable of doing. he saw the courage, he saw the sacrifice, they were humanized in a way that was not possible
on the plantation. life taught him a lesson different from martha. >> washington spent the entire second term in philadelphia. often doe things we so not learn about was about the trials of things like epidemics. the philadelphia population was more than decimated, 12% died in the early part of that epidemic. >> yellow fever is one of those diseases that one tends to think of as a southern, kirk caribbean disease. the east coast of united states was frequently struck with yellow fever. it was the yellow fever that was killing people right and left. alexander hamilton had a very bad case but survived. that was part of the torment but the real torment for washington was to see that his friends and
the man he respected, instead of coming together to make a new form of government, were falling apart into two parties. he would never have believed that jefferson and madison and hamilton would become enemies of one another and that they would do everything they could to keep each other out of office instead of working together. >> had before we leave this section, we will work our way through early reports of her life -- you mentioned adams. martha washington had a relationship with abigail adams. i was tickled to find out there was almost a sisterhood of revolutionary ladies. who was in that and how did they interact? >> they really had a lot in common. there were both wives who were partners. they were not wives who were stuck and left out of everything. they're both deeply committed to
the idea of this new republic. that is something they cared about. >> it was political in that sense. >> they were very political in that way. they also help teach others socially. abigail was extremely pleased and tickled by the fact that her place was to the right of martha washington on the sofa and that if another lady came up and took her place before she arrived, the president himself would ask her to leave so that abigail could set their. re. she almost had a crush and martha washington. to some loftyleft accounts. the one person who escapes her harsh tongue is martha washington. she said she did not have a
tincture of auteur about her. it is a wonderful phrase but even now, it evokes that this woman who could have been queen, george washington could have been king and she could have been queen and not the least of their accomplishments is that each refused. >> last question on this section -- you paint a portrait that george washington was a robust subscriber to newspapers of the time and that martha washington devoured the newspapers as well by my she did. she loved to read. she read a lot. when she did not actually read the papers herself, washington would frequently spend an evening reading aloud to her and whoever else was there. he would read a story and they will talk about it. she was not a person who was out of what was going on in politics at all. >> that does not mean she liked
what she read. >> how did the press or read her? >> there was no personal there wasbut ademocratic element who were always on the element for any someg that seemed markical thought that the president's weekly levy on tuesday afternoon and her dinner every thursday and her friday night reception and the fact that he wrote in a carriage to federal called, that somehow they put this together and suspected aristocratic inclinations. they were always on the lookout for that not so much directed at the first lady, per se, but the administration's represented. >> athe difference from martha
and every other first lady is that these were private comments. private unpleasant comments about her but it did not appear in the newspapers. nobody said that she is so uppity and is so full of herself. whatever that might want to say about her, wise or off-limits. once the adams came in, from then on, wives had been fair game. >> in about 10 minutes, we will go to your calls and you can join in. williamsburg, virginia was the place where george and martha met. we will learn a little bit more about martha washington's life in williamsburg next. is as close to
her home town that she would ever get. she was well connected before she was born. her great-grandfather was the first rector of druten parish church. you cannot get more embedded in the life of this town than that. her grandfather, orlando johns, we have his house that is reconstructed here and on that plantation outside of town. aeir daughter frances married and they moved no more than 30 miles away. that is where martha was born, chestnut grove. we heard growing up there that williamsburg was then the center of political and social and cultural life in all of virginia in this part of
virginia. given the fact that her father was engaged in a lot of political and economic and they moved no moreactivities, this is the plae she would have come to more often than any other place. >> this is the area she was born to. if you or anyone in society, you came to williamsburg if you are from new kent. her mother was in a williamsburg society. when she became of age to be prodded to society, she was being brought to the balls and assemblies here. she was at the balls at the royal governor's palace. she was certainly at the assembly's, at places like the ;raleigh tavern. when it is time to be brought out into polite society, williamsburg was the place to be because her mother knew that williamsburg was where her daughter needed to be. martha falls in love with daniel kuster. us. he is a farmer, a plantation
owner but she does not know that daniel custus the son of john theus who owns most of property around the area. she falls in love with his son daniel thinking he is a man from new can't. when daniel go to as father and says i want to mary mart dan says she is not fortunate enough to marry into the custus'. martha's father was a clerk of new kent and she had an amiable personality. that is the one notion that people fell in love with their. john blair and john proctor go to john custus on march the's behalf and tell him if he meets her, she will fall -- he will fall in love with her. i would love to see with that meeting was like.
whatever she said to this man, he said she was the most amiable young girl and he could not see his son marrying anything better than the young dandridge girl. 9 >> weekend seek -- we can see williams board as a real home where she owned a house and property. her first husband and children are buried right outside. the closest members of her family are within 20 or 30 miles of williamsburg. she can easily reconnect with them. >> the parish church, in many ways, was martha washington's home church. her great-grandfather was the first minister of the parish church. roland jones. he is buried on the inside. grandparents are both now buried in the church. probably more closely connected to miss martha washington than anybody else, other than george washington, is her first
husband and their first two children. this is the final resting place of martha washington's first husband. custus, martha washington's first husband. this stone was ordered from london. although he and both of their first two children, their first son and their first daughter, who lie here, were first interred now outside the plantation outside of williamsburg, they remained at the church in the early part of the century. this is a tenement. this is one of the buildings that martha washington owned in williamsburg. back a couple of acres, and which means she owned a huge chunk of one williamsburg was. she stayed here on and off for most of her life. williamsburg was the center of her world.
she was here when her husband, daniel custis, was a prominent member of this community and she was here very often when george washington was a political leader in the colony. , a member of the house of burgesses. and, of course, in order to be able to protect and promote her own business interests in the area. >> some beautiful scenes of colonial williamsburg. what about her williamsburg years were important when she became first lady? >> you have to realize she was a teenager when she became a fiancee, and he was 20 years older, and he was a bachelor because his dad never let him marry. nobody was good enough. not only did she overcome prejudice on the part of the father, but she helped bring him into a real-life with the children and everyone else, but
he was so rich. he was so much richer than most people around. she came from a lower gentry family. they were not so rich. she learned how to manage property and to manage money and to take care of things but -- that would serve her really well for the rest of her life. she was smart as far as money went. >> 25 when she became a widow? >> just one statistic to put this in perspective. mount vernon at its peak was about 8,000 acres. werel custis, when they married, and martha was 19 years old, brought 18,000 acres into this marriage, and the ifeo, which was wonderful -- anything, it understated how thoroughly curmudgeonly daniel's father was.
his tombstone holds an inscription he wrote which announces he had never been happy except one living apart -- except when living apart from his wife. relationship. whatever it was that this 18, 19-year-old young woman was able to say made an amazing impression. herbout the force of character. >> and her personality. >> she became wealthy at age 25. a wealthy, wealthy widow. she was quite a catch. what was it about george washington she saw that attracted her? >> it was mostly that he was such a hunk. he was 6'2" at a time when most men were 5'8", 5'9". a wonderful horseman, wonderful
athlete, fabulous dancer, very charming. and he really liked women. he loved to talk to women always, his whole life long. he had begun to show the type of leadership he would show more of, but he was the lucky one. she was the catch, rather than he. >> a colonel at the time and distinguished in his military career. >> he would also be a real catch in the sense that -- remember, she had four children by daniel custis, two of whom died young, and two of them survived for now. and, of course, she had all that property. george washington would also fulfill vital roles even as a partner. becauseould trust him he was clearly a person of such integrity.
>> on that note so people get a sense of what life was like for women in early america, women had what kind of property rights? >> as a widow she was in a fine shape, because her husband did not leave any kind of trust tee. she could do what she wanted to. >> is that common? >> fairly common. male trusty. he just did not get around to writing his will in time. once they got married it meant that they were covered women and all of their financial and any other kind of dealings were carried out by their husbands. dourhe had a do you remember portion of the custis estate, which she had an 35 slaves.
-- 85 slaves. the rest had to be managed for her children. >> our twitter community is \[laughter] >> he was. >> we o see pictures of martha washington, such as the portrait we have on the screen right now. in your biography you have a very different, very attractive martha washington. how accurate is this portrayal? >> very accurate. people criticized it and said, why do you have to show her young? we all start young. you are not born at 65 years old. it was important to show what she looked like as a beautiful young woman, so we took a picture to a forensic anthropologist and they did she looked like as a an age regression to show what she actually looked like at 25. i wanted to say, what did george see when the door was open and he walked into the drawing room?
what kind of woman did he set eyes on? it was not the gilbert stuart old lady. it was a beautiful young woman. >> about the children, martha washington had four. she yao lived all of them. by the time she met george there were two living children. what was his attitude toward these children? did he take them on as his own? >> he really did. later on he famously adopted the grandchildren. washington loved children. i think washington was rather sensitive to the fact that he had no children of his own, and that would be a subject of pure speculation, which hasn't prevented historians from speculating. the fact is he treated her children very much as if they were his own. by one estimate, she brought 20,000 pounds to their marriage, and he spent a good deal of that immediately send i away for orders for toys, for
wax dolls, for patsy, the daughter, and he spent quality time with them and, of course, lost both of them. it was a shattering experience. patsy, who died of epilepsy, one day at dinner in the dining room, and jackie, who had not participated in the revolution, until the very end and joined his stepfather's staff, came down with most people think typhus or some type of fever and died a few days later. >> this is very common in the period. the average life expectancy would have been 50's or 60's. >> except you need to think of
the fact that a large part of those in the mortality figures are young children who died before they're 5 or 6. the death rate is young children or women giving birth who died in childbirth. those figures are skewed. if you lived beyond 6 and if you survived childbirth, the chances of you living into your 70's were fine. >> washington men lived beyond the 50's. he had a sense that he was living on borrowed time at 57. that is why he was reluctant to take the presidency. >> time for some questions from around the country. the first one is jennifer in south dakota. what's your question? >> i was wondering what martha's relationship was to general washington's staff, people like alexander hamilton and maybe some of the younger politicians
like monroe and maybe even madison, especially considering that she did lose her children. >> well, that's a great question, because from the time she first gave birth at 18, 19, she was a really wonderful mother. she doted on the children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. during the war with the young officers, she was more or less like a house mother at a fraternity. she looked after these young men and she saw that they ate enough and that they had dry socks. they did all the important things and concerned herself with them in that way. and forever afterward the young men of those days remembered her as their mother, as their foster mother. >> she also had a sense of humor. alexander hamilton loved the
ladies, and they returned his interest. at one point in the war -- this is before hamilton married betsy schuyler -- martha had an amorous tomcat. that she named hamilton in tribute to the future secretary of the treasury. [laughter] >> i'm going to move on to another question from tom, of all things, from bethesda, maryland. >> there was a special relationship between george washington and the marquis de lafayette. how did martha get along with him? >> he was another of the young men that she became a mother to. when he came although the richest man in france, he was one of the most unhappy. he was escaping persecution by his in-laws and by the court,
and he came as a young man. he was 18 years old when she met him, and she thought of him as another son. she treated him that way. he loved it. he saw a part of that as what america was like, where people could be made over and he could be made over. >> he was one of the better observers who gives us a window on the relationship between the washingtons. he writes a letter. people ask why did martha spend every winter of the revolution with washington in lafayette? she loved her husband fondly. - madly. >> our next call comes fromgood evening. you are on. >> i read in washington a few months ago, and at that time he mentioned that the judge woman left because martha told her she was going to pass her on
down to her daughter and that she trusted and liked martha, but daughter. >> that's actually her granddaughter. the daughter was many years dead by then. martha had three granddaughters, and the oldest one was a fairly bad tempered and very capricious, and i do not think anyone would have wanted to work for her, much less belong to her. and certainly when she was told that eliza had requested her and that she was going to -- when they went home that she would be going to live with eliza when she got married, she decided enough was enough and took off. >> the montpelier folks are going to be yelling at me. shame on me. thomasllo was
jefferson's home, so we have to correct that. >> folks who smuggled her to portsmouth, new hampshire, and mrs. washington wanted to advertise for her return. and she wanted to back and she wanted her husband to advertise for her return andand it put washington in a very awkward situation. >> in michigan, what is your question? >> i wondered what you thought about how historic sites deal with first ladies, in particular, martha washington. do you think she is well represented? are there things we can do to talk about what she did? >> i certainly think in philadelphia it would be good to see even more done about martha washington as the first lady, but at mount vernon they have
done an incredible job. mount vernon is the leader among these historical houses. they have an actress who portrays martha washington, and they really make clear how important she was, that she was not just a hostess. us in tucson. hi, shirley, you're on. >> i'd like to ask a question about the custis-lee house in arlington. >> have you been to visit it? >> oh, yes, several times. i grew up in the washington area, and i was just there, and i saw it was being renovated, and i was curious. iton't really remember why was in the custis family. >> thanks very much. >> well, because martha's grandson, washington custis, who was adopted along with his
sister, nelly, by the washingtons and lived with them throughout their lives, when he -- after the washingtons died and he was on his own, he decided to build a beautiful mansion, which he did, and it was arlington. so this was the custis mansion. it in fact never belonged to robert lee. robert married mary custis, his daughter, and cared for it and lived there when he wasn't out on the frontier someplace building buildings and all. but it passed from washington custis to his daughter, marry, to the lees' son. lee was more of the caretaker, but he was the most famous of them all, so his name is included. >> if you want to humanize the washingtons, it's a wonderful or universal story about how george and martha agreed to disagree about george washington parke custis, known as young wash or tub, who was, i think
most people agree, spoiled royally by his grandmother. and he was in and out of school, and these wonderful letters in which washington was pouring out the benefits of his life experience about how he would work all day long, it's amazing how much you could get done, etc., etc., etc. totally wasted on tub, who would go on to become famous for his connection to george washington. married,he couple george washington was in the process of building mount vernon. >> well, mount vernon existed as a four-room farmhouse, but it was in the process of adding a second story. so then it was an eight-room house with an attic area at the top. >> doing that to bring his new wife there for -- >> he paid for it himself. it was partly his pride he did
not want to be marrying a rich woman and using her money to make his house. i think it was to show that he, too, had a lot to offer. >> both of you have spent hundreds of hours at mount vernon. is it fair to call it the centerpiece of the washingtons' existence? >> absolutely. >> definitely, of course. >> yeah, it was the north star, the place they always wanted to return to, the place they were happiest. notyet, it's remarkable -- to jump ahead, but after the president died, maybe the greatest sacrifice of all that martha was asked to make, and yet the last ultimate she was willing to have his remains removed from mount vernon and moved to the new capitol building in washington, d.c. happened. bureaucracy took over. >> it just shows how that -- how sometimes. they got to arguing so they did
not take him away. theet's show you some of views of mount vernon when we visited. >> it's clear that after martha arrives at mount vernon in april of 1759, there's a lot of management that she has to do. when she married george washington she brings with her 12 house slaves, and that is really almost an unimaginable luxury. these are slaves who, for the most part, are not field labor or not producing crops, which is where your income is coming from. they are doing things like cooking, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, sewing. ins is not productive labor, the sense that it's not producing income. so she brings those slaves with her. she brings financial resources to the marriage as well as managerial skills. makes mount vernon a successful operation and make it possible
for washington to be away for eight years fighting a war. so the fact that washington has this support system that enabled him to volunteer his time and talents to run the revolution is clearly critical. there is a manager who during most of the revolution is a distant cousin of george washington. later the farm manager is george augustin washington, who is washington's nephew. and he ends up marrying fannie bassett, who is martha washington's niece. so that tells you something about the closeness of some of the family relationships. it is clear while they are at mount vernon with martha washington, she was a take charge woman. in terms of her interaction with the slaves, she's interacting with the cooks in the kitchen, the maids who are serving in the house.
there are also slave women who are spinning on a continual basis to brow yarn. -- to produce yarn. gardeners are doing. martha was a great lover of gardens and having cut flowers. she loved having a kitchen garden that she could go out and bring in vegetables for what they're going to be able to serve at mount vernon. she's the one who's really planning the menus. there are just a lot of levels that she is working with. it's a big operation. really the center of her whole life. >> if you visit mount vernon today and with years of documentary research, how close is it to re-creating the life that george and martha washington experienced? >> nothing today could re- create the life at that time, because for one thing, they would have to take all the motorized vehicles away. they would have to have haystacks, manure piles, outdoor toilets.
there was so much about the life that was so much more primitive than it is. but as close as you can today, it's very good. as i said, it's the leader in the historical houses. >> george washington, what kind of a businessman was he? >> that is an aspect of his life that is least understood. they think of him as a complex conservative. they should think of him more in agriculture. he had a great passion for it. he was a real experimental farmer. he realized this was not fertile soil to begin with. bywas being exploited tobacco. tobacco really should be a crop of the past. he experimented with over 60 different crops to see what would work best. toery quick point i wanted
make was the apprenticeship that running mount vernon offered, if there was an ad for first lady in 1789, martha washington's prior experience really qualified her uniquely. and one of the things that she did -- if you go to mount vernon today, you'll notice there are two, in effect, wings, that were added during the revolution, which, by the way, she oversaw the construction. there's the dining room, which is a very public space, and then there's a very private wing that contains their bedroom and his study. one of the jobs she had -- they had 600 people a year, strangers, who showed up, just because they wanted to see the most famous man on earth. they were all welcome. they were all greeted. most of them were fed, given a bed overnight. but even washington, he'd disappear in the evening, go to
his study, leaving martha to converse with the visitors. >> their bedroom was one of the other videos we chose. let's watch that now. >> ok. >> the room that we refer to and show off in the mansion at the washingtons bed chamber is a room that was part of the south wing of the mansion here at mount vernon that was started george, right before washington left to participate in the continental congress, and then the revolutionary war. george washington does always refer to it as mrs. washington's chamber. and it's clear that it was kind of the center -- her nerve center for mount vernon. so the sort of daily routine was that when mrs. washington got out, she typically spent time in that chamber doing her hour of spiritual meditation. perhaps later in the day writing
letters, talking with her cooks to plan menus for the day, giving assignments for what was to be done that day. when her grandchildren were young, we know she also used that room for teaching them, reading them stories, sewing in the afternoons. so you can really imagine how wonderful it would have been in that room. one the most notable pieces is the bed that is in that bed chamber. that is the bed on which george washington died. but we also know from martha washington's will that she had a personal role in acquiring that bed, which is a bit larger than the typical dimensions for an 18th century bed. she'sseems perhaps that getting kind of a custom-made bed for her quite tall husband. another piece in the room that has a very close connection with martha washington is her desk. although very little of the correspondence between george and martha washington has survived, because martha
washington destroyed their private correspondence. it was in that desk that two of their letters were found that had slipped behind one of the drawers. that is very special to us as kind of the preserver of that little bit of very personal correspondence. it's not just a place where she slept. i can just picture her really sitting in her easy chair by the fire with her grandchildren around, and so we can really imagine how comfortable it must have been for martha washington. marthage and washington's bedroom at mount vernon. one of the things that's mentioned is her morning meditations, which seemed to be a sacred time for her throughout her life. what do we know of what she did during that time? >> she was an episcopalian. she was a member of the church of england and after the revolution she became a member of the american episcopal church. she had several bibles. she read the bible and also the
book of common prayer. she spent a lot of time also reading other books about the he -- episcopal point of view and she was a very, very deeply religious, but not judgmental woman. >> what about that video is important to tell people more of their room together and the life that they had? >> well, the fact that she burned all their correspondence in some ways is a metaphor. that's where they could be themselves. that's where they could say to each other what they didn't say anywhere else. and i think one reason why she burned those letters is because i think one reason she burned those letters was that was the unvarnished george washington. it was not a unique relationship that existed between them. she was the only person on earth to whom washington could confess his doubts, his fears, his opinions of his colleagues. you name it.
>> this is the interesting thing about that. they both had a sense they were creating an image larger than his lifetime, that they did not ant to be spoiled. >> she was very careful of his papers. they were always kept in a big truck. when they felt it might be in danger of being move, and now building his image, having his image, showing him as a political man were important, but as far as she was concerned, their private life was just that. hen they complained or whatever else they did, those were private. >> what was the content of the letters in the desk?
>> there were fabulous. they were from him to her when he had just expected to command of the continental army which did not exist yet of a nation that does not exist yet without sking her. he is writing and saying, i had to accept this. my honor required it, but please do not be angry with me, and he goes on and on about why it is important and why she needs to support him, and before he goes off to become the leader of the war, he makes time and now to buy some of the nicest muslin in town so she an make dresses. >> i do not think anyone reading those letters would subscribe to the widely held view their relationship was a business like one.
>> they were not young at this oint at all. >> let's go back to our viewer calls. gayle, you are on. >> high. m i talking to somebody? >> you are live on tv right now. >> my name is gail and i have a couple questions. i am reading a very nice easy book by mary higgins clark. she said no one ever called martha washington martha. she was always called patsy. ady bird johnson was never called claudia. i was just wondering. i just heard you mentioned in his letters that it was just mentioned on the television he did call her patsy. i also wanted to mention that in the story about martha and george washington that the
house mount vernon was riginally the home of his half brother, that he lived in a smaller farm. i wondered if you were going to talk about his years as a urveyor. or is this really about the years with martha as an adult. >> thank you. his is martha washington's time in the sun. how about the nickname patsy? >> it was a nickname for martha in those days.
nobody was named patricia back then. it was a common name. it was the farm has his brother lived in that was the farmhouse. i was mentioning he had been added a second story to. >> arlington, texas. >> hello. thank you for taking my call. i have a question regarding salary. i wonder if you could clarify that relationship, which continued until after the revolutionary war. was he aware of the relationship and how did he honestly deal with that or was that something that was not
discussed? >> do you want to start? >> here is a classic example where mrs. washington did her cause no good by burning those letters. in the late 1950's, two letters were discovered which james flexner made a great deal out f. their significance. sally was the wife of george william fairfax, who was a neighbor and close friend. some people describe him as washington's best friend. ust downriver from mount ernon.
i think, clearly, there was, i would use the word infatuation. sally was slightly older, very sophisticated to someone like george, who wanted, as a young man, very much too long. who wanted to be part of the colonial aristocracy, who wanted to advance in the ritish military. someone like sally, who was even then unattainable, nevertheless held a special allure. xactly what the nature of that relationship was is still being debated. you talked about george washington's integrity. i think it was something even then. i do not think the relationship
went beyond a lovesick young man. >> we will not disagree. when those two letters service, you cannot read them any other way but that he was a love sick puppy. they hardly make sense when you read them sentenced by some -- by sentence and tried to punctuate them, he has gone crazy because she has said something mean to him. you see how much she cares -- e cares about her. i do not think it went any further than that kind of infatuation. he did care about his friend. once he met martha and once they started to settle down, i think she had to have known. she was a smart woman.
when he started talking about the elegant neighbors -- sally fairfax and her husband was there when they drop in after getting up from the dining room able and were at her funeral because it was in the midsummer and she had to be very. it is becoming clear a revolution as been coming about. the fairfaxes go back to england, never to return. there is no continuing relationship beyond riendship. >> an ancestor of martha washington, her younger brother, bartholomew, was a great uncle of mine.
i was also born in virginia. i had a couple questions pertaining to life. i always heard her to met george washington carat it was plantation property next door to the white house. he had been the guest of the chamberlains there for dinner. not knowing martha was invited, also. that was where they met. the other question i have is, i nderstood she attended somewhat st. peter's fit rigid episcopal church. a very short distance from the white house. > when we roughens the white house, it is not the white house we know.
>> the white house is the plantation on the monkey river where daniel costas is the lord and master there. yes, st. peter's was the church. there are different stories about how they met. some people have said he and george have known each other for a long time. i do not think there is really much belief in that because when you run the numbers it did not amount to very much. he liked to write everything as a grand, old fashioned romance. >> time to move on. george washington pushed into service as the leader of the army. martha washington spends time with him and leaves how many times? how frequently was she in the attlefield with him. >> she goes every winter to join him in the cans and make a home not just for m -- for
him. they would make it a social time. of the actual eight years of the revolution, she spends, overall, five years. >> we have a video from one of those encampments in the pennsylvania, philadelphia suburbs. let's watch that now. >> martha washington came to valley forge in the fifth of february 1778. she arrived here in the evening. we know the weather while she was traveling here not always pleasant because it started out selling. she left, then the wind picked
up and it started to rain and t became very muddy. when she finally arrived here on february 5, it was quite pleasant and the weather was 35. for a lot of the time, she was traveling through mud. this was a difficult journey. >> it is very interesting to look at the primary documentation, the letters, journals, and diaries, to see what martha did do. i think it is a little surprising and it really puts a different complexion on the entire encampment. i think, number one, general ashington. they -- was to be with general washington. they had a nice relationship. we know some is used to duty. we also know she entertained.
we know elisabeth came to valley forge. we know, and this is when it starts to get interesting, she served elegant dinners ere. most people would never put the word elegant together with the word valley forge. his is probably where martha washington shot -- died until the log hut made our conditions much more tolerable than they were at first. right back near the kitchen. you can imagine martha washington here. some of the officers. general washington. perhaps some of the people from the area who might have been
passing through. ating dinner here. it was served in the afternoon. aybe 2:00. the food they ate here was different from what eight soldiers were eating. we know there were 2000 eggs brought into valley forge. they ate that during the encampment. we know they brought in 750 pounds of butter. e know at least 16 these are some of the things martha washington would be eating ere. conversation is interesting to think about. what would march up washington and other people be talking about? when elizabeth drinker came rom philadelphia, it is very
likely to general washington would have been interested to think of conditions at the time. martha was part of that conversation, listening to what was happening, talking in hiladelphia. >> we know martha washington went to several warships services here at camp. we know there was a wonderful celebration celebrating the french alliance. martha washington is there at the center of a large tent. thousands of them are entertained and serve efreshments. those are some of the things artha is doing here. >> we are back talking about martha washington.
i have a tweet hear from a viewer named jennifer who rites, amazing how much time martha washington spent with her husband on the front lines. that is what i want to start with. it sounds like we're just hearing about in valley forge, but 2500 soldiers died in that encampment in that winter. >> it was not viewed as genteel by her contemporaries. one of the things that frosted an emotional bond between mrs. washington and what would be the american people, was the perception. he had sacrificed every bit as much as her husband during the war. this was another chapter in her training for being first lady. he was in effect for eight years an executive, the close f think the country had -- the
closest thing a country had, and it is very touching. they had one room on the second-floor at valley forge. they had an hour every morning sacred. an hour where they were not to be disturbed. would you not love to be a fly on the wall of those conversations? undoubtedly again, washington unloaded a lot. >> he had so many words. ith a possibly when? it was not just entertaining the americans.
she was entertaining officers from france, from britain, from germany -- germany. one french officer said, it was so wonderful to be there with her, drinking tea, singing, can and chatting. at the end of the evening, one would go home feeling better. an you imagines feeling better at valley forge? she had charm beyond belief. >> she had an official role acting as assistant to private secretary. it gave her a lens of the job. what else from those years were mportant in the development of the first lady? >> the change in her sewing habits, people sewed in apestry and fancywork. when she was there and the local ladies came to call, she was not doing fancywork. she had the knitting needles out. she was knitting socks for the soldiers. hey marched and they got
bigger holes on the sauce. she must have knitted thousands of socks and encourage others to, as well as raising the money to make women's shirts, which served as uniform hirts. he physically, in terms of her work, and emotionally in terms of her leadership, helped inform the trips. >> there was a wonderful story where a group of women were going to call upon the general lady and expected a very grand igure. to their astonishment, they found her knitting and wearing a speckled apron. she clearly was not someone to stem on the stand on her osition.
>> thank you all for being ere. this serious great and the panel is fantastic. my question is about washington's grandchildren. could you talk a little bit about martha's cousin, peter. could you talk a little bit about her relationship with her grandmother? >> when the adoption happened, when the washington adopted two of the grandchildren, they took the two youngest. the two elder girls lived with their mother and tepfather. eventually, lots of half brothers and sisters. the two elder girls spent a lot of time with washington and were very friendly with him.
they were not very loving with them. they were not the same as the adopted children. patty got married very young, apparently for love. her husband, peter was a well-to-do man in georgetown and they built a beautiful house. it is open to the public. it is an incredibly gorgeous place. she bought this task and when she took it home, she found those wonderful letters. >> a reminder, martha washington outlived her four children. pretty on the goal for many to book today. not so on common during this time. the next phone call, edward. virginia. >> a fascinating program. i am originally from new york. at the cantonment, the last thing -- the loss and kamen when they offered him the kingship, could you expand on hat?
>> she spent a lot of time at neuberger. the warhead worn down. -- the war had worn down. >> the defining moment in american history, i do not think she was there for that. >> we have about 12 more inutes left. 90 minutes went by so quickly. we started about talking about the important white house years. our last will be the life after residency. what is this president scenting - setting? >> he became the first president and the first x-president.
>> did they think about that a lot? >> they were just glad to be ome. >> was there any consideration of a third term? >> no. washington had wanted very much to leave after the first term. it is safe to say martha was not happy. she was not happy he took the irst term. she recognized it was unavoidable and her life had become caught up in the life of the country. he third term -- >> he twice had elements that almost killed him during the time he was president. he was terrified the
presidency would literally kill him. you think about every president we know. you look at the pictures of when they start. eight years later, they are more than eight years older, for sure. it is a very aging kind of job. >> we look at a political battle over the size -- what was the intensity of the political battles of this timeframe? >> remember, washington success as president depended on his persuading everyone he was not political partisan.
he did not call it a federal list of government. called it a national government. he went out of his way to include all the sections of the country. hamilton and jefferson had a cockfight. he was willing to see himself as a duke of king george and omeone who the tray. all has been harder for a first lady, or a presidential child to put up with the criticism than for the president who accepted -- question had to be nvolved. >> she was. she took madison jefferson into hatred. she hated thomas jefferson. once he started his newspaper campaign against washington,
and the reason he brought washington into it was to defeat hamilton. he said, it is a shame how much the president suffered from the source of attacks but it is necessary. she never forgave him. never. e never realized she was smart enough to see what he was doing. she thought he was horrible. the fact he was elected president was shocking. >> he made the mistake of underestimating martha washington. martha grew closer personally and politically to the atoms -- adams. she was glad it is -- it was tom adams. >> next week, we will delve in for 90 minutes for the life of abigail adams. how many years post presidency did they live at mount ernon?
>> he lived two years. she lived 2.5 beyond that. >> what was the time like, their last two years -- their last years together as a couple? >> it was a great time. they were experimenting, dealing with the mill and all the things he pioneered ith. she had to organize the housekeeping appeared what is so interesting is mount vernon become the symbol of the nation after they retire. there is no white house yet. washington d.c. is building up but it does not exist. it does not exist as a large place. hen foreigners and important people come, what do they want to see? the building we are seeing in d.c., they want to see mount
vernon and washington after washington dies, they want to see martha washington and talk to her about what it was like. hey see her as the leading remnant of that history. hey continue to have this -- until they die. both of them. >> he sat down and wrote a will in the course of which he identified himself as george washington, a citizen of the united states, not virginia. even more important, in which he made provisions to free the slaves that he could upon the deaf of martha. that was something he had to consult her about although i do not think we have any evidence to that effect. >> george washington does die very suddenly. t must have been a great
shock. martha was very brief. she does retreat. she does not use their shared a bed -- their shared bedchamber after his death. it is furnished with the actual bed we believe came to the washingtons in the 1750's from ondon. it is on with hanging space on a little fragment preserved in a 19th century valentine written by martha's granddaughter, nellie. that valentine says this is fabric from the turbines that hung in the room in which mrs. washington died here. that fabric exactly matches the description of the hangings that came with the dead george washington got from london in
he 1750's. it points to a very romantic tale that, after george washington's death, martha washington moves upstairs but surrounds herself with things from the air -- from the very earliest days of their marriage. was a place of refuge for her. it was a place where the house ontinued to be busy with servants, slaves, and people visiting. those are places she could really retreat to and be quiet and contemplate and be removed rom the hustle and bustle. >> when washington died, she said, it is over. y life is just waiting now. she really and truly did not ant to be in that room where
they had been so happy. >> did she involve herself? did she stay involved in any of the politics of the day? >> the politics of the day, she became even more secluded if nything, certainly emotionally. her emotions became even more entral to her day. every day, she would walk down the path to the tomb, which you can see today. she would pray. basically, she was literally counting the days until she could be reunited with the love of her life. when you factor in her religious convictions, it is just another factor. >> we have two minutes left. a final question in irginia. >> george mason had two wives. she passed away.
i was wondering what the relationship was between martha washington and either of george mason's wives. >> they were friendly neighbors. as far as i know, they were never intimate friends. >> that friendship was a political casualty. george mason 10 and george washington, who had been friends and collaborators and leading up to the revolution. after the constitutional convention, which washington sanctioned, it really spelled an end to their friendship. >> on twitter, someone said, uite the power couple. what are the important things to know about the influence of martha washington? >> it is important to know how
smart and powerful she was and how dependent he was on her. his achievements were his achievements. having her there with them made them much more possible. >> i think that is true. she defines it in a way that perhaps a temporary americans -- contemporary americans might have a difficulty understanding. she was the most influential person in the face of europe -- in the face of europe. >> this is the biography of george washington's patriarch. a striking portrait of young marked on the cover. our partners for the entire series is the white house historical association. they have been helping with documentary ever in -- evidence. we get ready for the series and we say thanks as we finish up the first program. we have a group of academic advisers, and you will see many of them at the program rogresses. we have a robust website with a
later and julia tyler his second wife. >> i think her her as the madonna of second ladies. she posed as a model at a time when that was fround upon. she was known as the rose of long island. by all accounts was bewitching. she certainly bewitched john tyler who married her. and she loved being first lady. she had the job for less than a year but it was julia tyler who ordered the marine band to play hail to the chief whenever the president appears. it was also her who greeted her guests sitting on a thrown with purple plumes in her hair which role that to that
martha washington rejected. >> tonight live at 9:00 eastern on c-span and c-span 36789 orgorg c-span radio and -- cspan.org. >> and the conversation about tonight's first ladies have already started on c-span radio and online at cspan.org. >> first lady michelle obama hosted thousands today as the took place. nt
>> the sequester will reduce grants by 5% which roughly equates to $22 million or so which will be distributed among the various license ease and stations that i've described. and we have in fact taken about a 13% overall federal funding over the last two years and if the federal government had sustained the cuts that we had sustained, the budget would be $500 billion.
we feel like we've made a significant contribution to deficit reductionnd federal debt. >> the impact of spending cuts on public television on the communicate tors on c-span2. > she would grow to be the equal of john adams as confidante and dearest friend. she revealed herself as an 18th-century woman, but her concerns sound very modern to s today. >> john and abigail adams have become so prominent because of hese collection of papers. >> the story of abigail adams and the revolutionary war is
the story of sacrifice, commitment to country. she rose to the occasion. >> she was opposed to slavery. >> she was quiet behind-the-scenes, she said cannot rule without including what women want. >> the backdrop to the occupancy of the white house is one of personal tragedy. > she is worried about her husband. she is concerned about her children, their upbringing, their education. >> she could hold her own with anybody. she was her husband's equal. >> born in 1744, abigail smith married john adams at age 19. they had five children together, including a future president. ahead of her time in many ways, she pinned this to her husband during the american revolution --
good evening and welcome to first ladies." we will be learning more about abigail adams, the second first lady of the united states. we have two guests, authors of numerous books. jim taylor is the editor-in-chief of the "adams papers." thank you to both of you. abigail adams as the wife of the second president and a other of another president
earned her place in history. you say that she is an historical figure in her own right. >> she left us letters and we have a record of her life. the letters are not ordinary. they are extraordinary. they are wonderfully written and there are many of them. abigail was a letter writer at a time when women could not publish for publication. her letters became her outlet and they are the best record we ave of women's role in the american revolution. > last week, we learned that martha washington burned all of her letters. only two of them remain. we have the opposite here. thousands of them.
explain the scope of the trove of materials that you have to work with as scholars to the writings of the adams family. > the adams family gave to the massachusetts historical society of collection. we have never counted them individually, but probably 70,000 plus documents. for abigail and john, there are about 1170 letters they exchanged over the years. >> how frequently did they write to one another? >> depended. when they were together, we do not have any letters after 1801. after john leaves the white house, they're together almost ll the time. they wrote at least once a week nd sometimes twice a week.
>> this program is an interactive one, which makes it more enjoyable. in about 50 minutes, we will be taking your telephone calls. we will put the numbers on the screen. if you go to twitter, we will include some of your weets. you can also go to facebook and we posted a spot where you can end questions. i will start with a facebook comment. "she looks like a tough cookie." was she a tough cookie? >> oh, my goodness. yes and no. one of the things that is important to understand is that she started out as a naive young woman whose expectations
were to have a normal life like her mother did. the revolution disrupted hat. she used the opportunities of this disruption in her life to grow as a person. she begins as a naive young woman and she does become a very sophisticated worldly opinionated woman. >> this is one of the things that makes her the most attractive. a good character in a novel develops over time. she develops. > what were her roots? where was she born? what was her upbringing such that she became a woman of letters? >> she was the daughter of a minister, reverend william smith.
her mother attended the political world of new england. her mother's family were nortons and quincys. she grew up in a household that was quite middle-class for that time and had two sisters and one brother. he was educated at home by her mother. she read at random in her father's library. >> when did she become political? >> i am trying to think. very early on when john is at
the continental congress, she wants the newspapers. she wants pamphlets when they are published. one of the things -- she is consuming the news at that time. she begins -- by the mid 1770s, she is on board. >> what was her political thinking? >> she was a revolutionary, she was very supportive. the fact that john was participating, they were partners. at some point, he writes to her thanking her for being a partner. later on, i think she is more conservative than john in some
ays when it came to national politics. >> we will be looking at some of her letters throughout the program. a very famous one was remember he ladies. that is a letter that is of particular interest to you. why is that letter significant in understanding abigail adams? >> the letter does many things. she wrote at night and she would enter a kind of revelry in which she followed her thought pattern wherever she went. she changes topics in her letters. it starts out with a political
statement about why the southerners favored slavery and are still doing a rebellion against the tyranny. and she questions that. and then she goes on and in the middle of a paragraph, remember he ladies. and then goes on further to suggest that if john did not like this idea, it was a remarkable thing because he was in a position to do something. he was on the committee that was drafting a declaration of ndependence. e could have made a move for women's rights. t is remarkable that she did uggest that. >> give us a sense of the role
women have in society. they could not vote. how could women be influential? >> it is much more subtle. in the same way -- many times, a decision is made, people think that the husband makes the decision. there is a kitchen table discussion that goes on before that. in the adams household, there were a lot of kitchen table discussions between john and abigail. bigail may not have been the most obvious in making the decisions. we know much later after the evolution that she is very influential. >> i want to tell you a little bit about what the country looks like in 1800.
we have some statistics we will put on screen to give you some of the scope. by that point, john marshall went on to the supreme court. the population was 5.3 million across 16 states. they are around 990,000 blacks. 5.3 million was a 35% growth in the country. the average life expectancy was 9 years. the largest cities were new york, philadelphia, baltimore. what are some of the things we should take away from those tatistics? >> one of the things is there is an expansion going on. this is one of the things that is very difficult for the adams because politics are changing and changing politics means they are new englanders.
as time goes by, as the population moved south and west, makes it more difficult for politics they believe n. >> we will invite your telephone calls. i am told you want to read a passage. >> i would like to remark on the 39-year life span. that is not exactly accurate to he extent that children died much more rapidly. if a child survived to 12, the life span was much longer. >> the five children, how many of them survived to adulthood? >> four. >> you wanted to read from the letter we talked about earlier? > in this particular letter,
she was ruminating about conditions in her life and what was going on in her world. i would like to hear that you have declared independence. by the way, i desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. which is a bold and remarkable statement for a woman to have ade in that era. >> the relationship we have seen, would it have been a surprising thing for her to say? >> we're back to the kitchen table. i am sure that before he rode off to philadelphia, she filled his ear with a lot of ideas along the way. john knows that there are several groups of people, servants, slaves, also moved during this time to think about their rights and their
ndependence. >> what was her viewpoint on slavery? >> she was opposed to slavery. she had a servant, a black servant, who had been a slave f her fathers. i think the woman -- what was the story? did she have the right to be free after -- i cannot remember. >> abigail cared for her for the rest of her life. she lived in their house. >> how did they manage to work the farm? what kind of labor did they use? >> they did have hired labor.
it became very problematic for abigail. i want to go back to the letter. you mentioned john's response and what she does in this letter in addition to saying, why is it that southerners can support our revolution when they keep people in slavery? remember the ladies -- and then she says, if you do not pay attention to this, rebellion. and then it goes on further to say that you should treat us the same way that god treats people. in this one letter, she brings up so many ideas. i would suggest that her threat is indicative of one of the ways the adams related to each other.
his response to her was a tease also. one of the ways in which they related, it seems to me. >> how did they meet each other? >> they met at her father's house. he went as a dinner guest with a lifelong friend. he then married the elder sister. abigail was not yet 15. at that time john was not enthusiastic about her at
first. pparently, things changed over the years. he was 9 years older than her. >> he had a girlfriend at the time. >> he was about to propose to his woman and one of his friends burst in and broke the mood and she went off and married somebody else. >> he was a lawyer. would that have been a profession that her family would have appreciated? >> the family lore suggested that it was not. her family disapproved of her marrying a lawyer. > was john political at that
point? sure, he was interested in politics the way young men were, and he was running for office by this time, wasn't he? >> a very, very local -- his trajectory was to be a great lawyer in massachusetts. that's what he saw he was following that line and probably would have been >> it is important to note because these two were married for 54 years, and as we're hearing from our guests, were great partners. even if it was in the beginning not a love match, it grew to become one. we have as an example this one letter. this is called the "miss adorable" letter, and we are going to show that to you next. >> what is so appealing about the family series is the intimacy that the letters
reveal. the earliest extent letter we have dates to october 1762. we call it the "miss adorable" letter because that is how john adams opens the letter. it was john writing to abigail. he says, "miss adorable, by same token that the bearer hereof sat up with you last night, i hereby order you to kisses and asny many hours of your company after 9:00 as he shall please to demand and charge them to my account." he continues, "i presume i have good right to draw upon you for the kisses as i have given two or three millions at least. when one has been received, and as consequence, the account between us is immensely in favor of yours." a very teasing, affectionate tone. there are just some wonderful moments in the courtship correspondence.
>> it's fun during this series to bring these founding fathers, people that we see in these very two-dimensional poses, come to life and have real human personalities. these people were clearly having fun and enjoyed one another. >> this is one of the most appealing things about john and abigail, and some of the other adamses, but particularly john and abigail. they have a life that you can follow because of the documents. you see them in good times and in bad. you see death in the family, you see triumph. i was going to say, it's like "downton abbey," but it's not exactly, but it's a wonderful story. the reason is because we have so many documents. youe is texture there that do not have with the other founders. >> based on how you've her admonitions to
john about remembering the ladies, brenda elliott on twitter wants to know -- >> one of the things that we know by reading abigail's letters is that women were aware of their subordinate role in the 18th century. because we have abigail's letters where she writes about this, we know that she was not exemplary. other women in her period of time time, her good friend otis warren, for instance, was totally agreeing with her and totally a colleague. i think that one of the things we have learned in the women's movement in the late 20th and early 21st centuries is that we can trace the movement for women's rights back further and further in history. abigail happens to be an outstanding example because she left us letters that say these things. she was also very eloquent. not everyone could write like
abigail. abigail was a wonderful writer. >> our first telephone call on abigail adams comes from jan, watching us in new york city. >> hi, good evening. while abigail certainly was one of the first great american female writers, shouldn't it also be acknowledged that she was a poor mother, despite john quincy, since another son committed suicide and another son drank himself to death? >> thank you what she a good mother? >> yes, she was a very good mother. we live in a post-freudian world in which when something goes wrong inside of a family, the mother gets the blame. first of all, these children were living through a revolution. second of all, their father was not at home for 25 years.
she was doing it all by herself. she was coping in a situation which was extraordinary. i think that applying 21st century standards to mothering and even the psychology that has developed in the early 20th century does not fly for the 18th century. >> mary is up next in santa rosa, california. myhi, thanks for taking call. i am interested in finding out what the relationship between abigail and thomas jefferson was. did abigail and thomas jefferson correspond during john and thomas' year of not really speaking to each other? i've also heard that abigail had an intimate relationship him as far as correspondence went. i am wondering how true that is. >> they were very good friends at one time. the highest point of the relationship was when abigail was for a while in france and then in england, and thomas
jefferson was a diplomat abroad at that time. they were very close, very close. as a matter of fact, for a while, while jefferson was in paris and she was in london, they bought goods for one another and kept little accounts for one another. at one point, one of -- jefferson's younger daughter came from virginia to france stopped in london on the way, and abigail took care of her during that time. during the national period, particularly after the election of 1800, the relationship fell apart. it was over politics. during that time, abigail was
very disappointed with jefferson. >> next up is matt in osh kosh, wisconsin. >> thanks for taking my call. i was wondering what some of the intellectual and stylisitc influences on abigail's writing were, other writers she might have read and how they might have influenced her. >> thank you. did she have influences on her writing? >> of course, she was a great reader. this is the beginning point of beginning to write well, to read good literature. she read the bible, she read pope. i am going to let jim also talk to this. >> when we do the research on her letters, one of the things -- if she is quoting somebody or citing somebody, we always want to identify who it is. sometimes, she is not using quotation marks. educated people in the 18th century knew a lot of things automatically. i would say the things she quoted most often or things that she referenced most were shakespeare, the bible, alexander pope, and the
classics. >> this next call is from their hometown quincy, massachusetts. this is kumu, you're on. >> hello. congratulations on having this wonderful series on the first ladies. i live in quincy, massachusetts, and we are very lucky see and experience and breathe the adamses life up close every day. my comment was going to be about abigail's sentiment about remembering the ladies. i think she pretty much -- not paved the way -- but she shined light on the fact that women can shape and change destinies, not just of one's life, but of nations and the world if they set their mind to it. it is very important because
women are the primary factor in bringing up the children. of did it just at the brink the united states as we know it today because the adamses were instrumental in the constitution and the forming of this nation. in fact, quincy is actually called the birthplace of the american dream. she may not be formally recognized as a primary role in women's rights, but she definitely had a very important role in shaping women's place in this country and in history. >> thank you. more of a comment and observation than a question. that caller was from quincy. we will taking you next to the quincy home of the adamses as we prepare to tell you the story of the revolutionary times in which the adamses lived.
>> the story of abigail adams and the revolutionary war is a story of sacrifice, of commitment to country. abigail rose to the occassion. * * * * for the first 10 years, they lived in this home, from 1764- 1774. it is where they raise their four children. this is the birthplace of their second child, john quincy adams, who went on to become president of the united states. the primary link between she and john adams would be letter writing. it was from this house that he was provided a window into what was happening back here in the colony of massachusetts. she would report to john about the militia in boston. during the battle of bunker hill, she took her son and she would watch the battle of bunker hill with her son and about the fires and smoke.
she was the eyes of the revolution to john adams and the second continental congress in philadelphia. we are in the hub of the household. this room in particular could be considered the classroom for abigail the schoolmistress and hurt corporate children. one must remember the schools were closed down. the children cannot benefit from a formal education. teach up to abigail to them the lessons. not only arithmetic and french, but also morality, literature, and what was going on in the revolutionary war. she was their primary educator here in this home. this is the room where many of those lessons would have taken place. she reported to john adams at one point, she began to take up the works of ancient history,
and she was having john quincy read her at least two pages a day. i do not know if anybody has read that history, but for a seven-year-old, he had a very good instructor in abigail adams. during the occupation of boston, there were many refugees leaving boston and into the country. they needed a place to live. abigail adams wanted to open the home next door, john birthplace, for the refugees. she rented a house out to a farmer and his son. but would provide assistance to abigail on the farm. she reported to john that she met with some ill treatment. to asked mr. hayden and
share his house with refugees, but he refused. by the time she received a response, like many things, she had solved the problem yourself. she paid mr. hayden to leave the press -- the premises, providing her the opportunity to house refugees. there are troops marching in her yard, practicing their maneuvers and preparation for war. she reports to john that john quincy is out behind the house, marching proudly behind the militia. at one point there were militia's living in the upstairs attic and the second floor. she welcomed these men to her home and support to the revolutionary war with her actions. >> the adams's lights put them in the defense in the founding of our country. we have a timeline of key events in the adams life. 1744, she was born and married john adams 20 years later. soon after that, the stamp act. then in 1770, the boston massacre. i wanted to ask our guest about
how endangered the addams family were living in the midst of this preparation for war. sympathizer's against the british government. >> for the first decade of their marriage, abigail and john lived together. it was during this decade that event escalated towards war. there is a simultaneous parallel current -- occuring a personal level and global, a political level. during this period of time, there was no danger. there was danger once, once there was fighting in the massachusetts bay area, yes, there was danger. more than that, they did not know that there would be dangerous.
they never knew where the next troop deployment was going to happen. she was ready at any minute to move away from the house, to move inland, to take her children to safety. >> how much time was she alone while john adams was off working on the foundation of the government? >> my goodness, from 1774-1784, they were apart most of the time. he came home a couple of times for a couple of months. during that time, she worked alone on the farm by herself or raising the children. >> she was writing these letters explaining the situation -- a concern was he about his family? >> he was very concerned. wrenchingne heart moment in which she is pregnant and she is writing right up until the time that she begins labor, and because of the time and distance -- which is so hard for us to understand now, with our instant communication -- he is writing hoping that she will have a daughter and that everything will be fine. in the meantime, the infant is born dead.
she had a premonition that this was going to happen. while he is writing happily, joyfully, she has buried this child. he knows that she is capable of doing almost anything that a woman or man could do during that time, but there is a certain helplessness on his part. he is so consumed by what he is doing their, but then reflex -- he will send letters, kiss tommy and johnny. a lot of it is very emotional. >> when war broke out, i read that she was so supportive that she would do things like how the effort by melting down a housewares said they could made into bullets. was that common?
>> sure, people were doing that altogether. i'm going to pass on that. >> let's keep it up -- a couple more calls as we learn more about the revolutionary years of the adams family. next is a call from denise in michigan. >> hello. i would like to know if the series from hbo was reflected in any way of how things really work, in the sense of family. i know they did not go too deep into that. i would also like to know, when you talk about five kids, was that the baby who died? was it correct about the sun drinking? -- the son drinking? >> first, the hbo mini series. >> it was good history. it was drawn up also, so you
have to understand in order to make it appealing, a little license was taken. generally, it was pretty good history. >> there was this tweet -- the caller asked about the five children and didn't include the child who died? >> the child who died was the third child, born before charles. there was abigail jr., then john quincy, then a third child named susana who lived only one year, and there is very little reference to this child in their correspondence. we know very little about it. abigail was pregnant at the time of the death of susana. her third child charles was born. at the end of life, when her
daughter in log lost a child and the daughter-in-law was in st. petersburg, abigail wrote to her, and for the first time i have seen, she made reference to having lost a baby daughter. it was a closed topic. >> the caller also wanted to know about the son who was an alcoholic and died. >> charles -- people did not know about alcoholism in those days. it was considered simple. it was not considered a disease. charles is throughout the correspondent's treated as a person -- correspondence as a person who was sensitive. he went to europe with his father in 1779, and he had to come back because he was home sick. he was a sweet child, a pleasant child. but also fragile, and he may
have got into trouble when he was in hartford. >> you know from the letters between abigail and her sisters and that they kept an eye on him, that there was a problem. it is never fully discussed. one of the things that was difficult for abigail was that her brother was an all collect. -- an alcoholic. >> on twitter -- if she had been born at a different age, would she have been like eleanor roosevelt? >> that is hard to do. she certainly would, she had all the attributes of a very dynamic woman who was opinionated and would have had her own goals to pursue. she would have been very influential. she was very influential in the
presidency. >> a lot of historians -- there have been a four surveys of historians over the past decades -- abigail adams always comes in the number two or number three position as most influential. why? >> who would be number one? >> eleanor roosevelt, i think. why does she end up in the number two spot? >> there is a distant in time. people have other images. people that knew -- people are still alive and that no eleanor roosevelt. she is modern. if you did a survey now, jacqueline kennedy would probably rate much higher because people know and like her at that time. the only thing we have from abigail are the letters. >> and she is still in the
number two spot. not bad. she seemed to route this to hundred years being the second most influential first ladies based on the letters you have been spending your career on. >> also, if you see her influence on her husband, i do not know there have been many first ladies that have had that kind of influence. >> a specific example of an important policy that you see she worked on him? >> i do not know of a particular policy. it is that he consults her all the time. her letters at a certain point are divided into two things, this is what is happening with the children, this is what is happening on the farm, here are my thoughts about politics. she shared all the time. by the time he got to be president, and he was not popular with his party, she was his major adviser. >> here is another in a video piece of a letter, add if to john, focus on virginia.
[video clip] >> everybody knows this letter and associates it with abigail adams. what is lessening -- lesser- known and what is fascinating is that the remember the ladies comment comes quite far down in the letter. the first section of her letter to john is questioning and voicing her concerns about virginia's role in the revolutionary war. she writes, what sort of defense virginia can make against our common enemy, whether it is so situated as to make an able defense, are not the gentry lords and the common people of vassals? are they not like the uncivilized natives? she continues, and one of her
probably most pointed comments on slavery -- i am sometimes ready to think that the passion for liberty cannot be equally strong in the breast of those who have been accustomed to deprive their fellow creatures of their spirit of this i am certain, that it is not founded upon that generous and christian principle of doing to we would that others should do unto us. >> how influential was this opinion about enslaved people on john adams's thinking? >> he had to be more practical. he is in congress. he is dealing with these people. he cannot alienate them. he had to help pull this together. it is easy to be a critic when you're not there. throughout the first 60 years of the country, people had to tread softly in order to keep the union together.
>> we are going to fast forward. the country is formed. the washingtons are elected president and serving in new york, than philadelphia. john adams is vice-president. how does he and abigail decide their household? did she move to new york, or philadelphia? >> john was vice-president for eight years. she moved to new york for one year, the first year, because the capital was new york for the first-year. she loved it. she had a beautiful house on hudson river overlooking the
city of manhattan and overlooking new jersey's sore. she loved it -- shore. she loved it. then she moved to philadelphia and she spent the entire year ill. her health was always precarious. she decided after that year in philadelphia, they decided together that she would stay at home. there was no precedent for the first lady and the second lady to be living with the men. didas by choice that martha it. abigail had the liberty to choose to go home. she did for the next six years. >> we learned last week that the city of philadelphia was decimated at the start of the second washington term with yellow fever. paul% of the population died. did she have an illness related to that? -- 12% of the population died. did she have an illness related to that? >> it is hard to put a name on it, but no. she did have rheumatism. beyond that, the symptoms she describes are very hard to diagnose.
>> there was no role model for being the second lady at the time. on twitter -- >> i am not sure about that. >> was she a national figure? >> no, not at all. she was known because she had been -- of the problems they is that people thought they were monarchical, they had been tainted by their time in europe. i think this is one other interesting things about abbot rell -- abigail, she grew up minister's daughter, and then she sat beside -- is at versailles, so she is a much
more sophisticated person. abigail was international. >> what is the relationship between martha washington and abigail adams? >> it was wonderful. abigail loved martha. she met her once -- when she the mother of the vice- president. whenever they had a social event, there were very close. whenever she wrote about martha, which was not much, but when she did write about martha, it was in the most glowing terms. >> one of the things she did was just after she knew that john was going to be elected, she rode to martha washington, asking her about how to be the first lady, how she would carry the role.
>> martha wrote back and said, you know inside yourself how to behave. >> we know that is a tradition that continues today for new incoming first ladies, reach out to the people that served before, to understand the enormity of the task. here is a call. >> good evening. thank you for the program. i read one of your guests books and some earlier works on john adams. i still think the most comprehensive biography, technically of john adams, but really of them both, was one done more than half a century ago, two volumes by page smith -- paige smith. i think that stands out. >> nobody writes about john adams without consulting paige smith. he is a foundation for writing about it. what is remarkable to me was that the adams papers had just
been opened to the public at a time when he started writing his book, and yet, they were so thoroughly researched. >> it was the first thing i read in graduate school. it was my introduction. >> the caller was nice to mention your books. i want to show some of them. we're hoping people be intrigued enough to read more. "abigail adams: a writing life." "my dearest friend: the letters of abigail and john adams." can you dive right in and get a sense of the person? >> yes, you might need a little bit of historical context, the letters are personal. in some ways, they are timeless. the talk about problems that people have today, concerns that people have today. but the political context, but the intimacy. but your book is excellent because of the footnotes and you take people into it. abigail's letters had been in
print and she has been read since 1840 when her grandson's first published an edition of her letters. she was a best seller through the 19th century, people knew her. she has always been famous. >> i am not able to find a tweet as quickly as i need to. somebody asked a question, did the adams to think about their letters being published? >> as early as 1776, don is telling her to keep the letters. at a certain point, there is a consciousness in some, particularly his letters. they know at a certain point, and i'm not sure when the cross the threshold, that they are important.
that is one of the reasons the family saves the letters. early on, it is the motion with the mists of four letter. later on, their letters extend from 1762 -- the miss adorable letter. later on, their letters extend from 1762 onward. >> this is a tweet -- >> i do not know that is true. >> what we said is that abigail and martha's friendship helpd facilitate the relationship between washington and adams,
when they were trying to understand what a president and vice-president might do. is there any evidence of that? >> i think john and george washington got along pretty well all the time. john adams was extraordinarily supportive of washington and personally injured when some of the press turned on washington, could not believe it. martha and george were a hard act to follow. they knew they would be difficult. >> we will move into the years of their one-term presidency. before that video, there's a time in one of your books, you call it a splendid missouri being in the white house. explain what that phrase meant. >> it was blended in that they were at the pinnacle of his political career and her career.
they had risen to the top. trouble,thing but agonizing trouble from the very beginning. at very first, john was very enthusiastic about becoming president. abigail said, i'm going to stay here in quincy. she said, i will not be there until october. he said, that's fine, you do come until october. once he was in the presidency, he discovered it was the loneliest place in the world. he started writing letters, drop everything that you're doing, come here, i need you immediately. she did. >> one of the interesting things, one of the reasons she was hesitant was she said, i like to be outspoken. she knew that in that context, she cannot. when she was in quincy, she could. >> when she was in quincy, there was a house they built another called peace field. >> in 1787, abigail realized they outgrew their cottage.
she began to negotiate through her cousin to purchase a house we're standing in front of right now. ofn adams enjoyed a lot peace and tranquility at this time, as did abigail. he called it peacefield. there were two rooms on the first floor, to go on the second, and smaller bedrooms on the third floor. there were about seven and half rooms to this home -- to this home. this was their home base. before becoming first lady, abigail would spend nine years in this house. the first year, she was setting up the house after returning from europe. she had remembered this house as one of the grand houses in quincy. her perception of grant had changed after living in europe. she began making plans to enlarge the house. she wanted to improve on the size and height of the ceilings and the space. she would write to her daughter, warning her not to wear any of her large the other hats
because the ceilings were too low. she began working with an architect to enlarge the home. they added a long haul and entertainment room where she would receive her guests. with sensitivity to the architecture on the outside and the flow of the home, she had the builder did down so they could lower the floors and get the high ceilings that she desired without disrupting the architecture. you step down two steps and you're in a whole different world. a typical day for abigail would be to rise at 5:00 in the morning. she had many chores to do much for time was spent in the farm, taking care of the orchard,
taking care of the house. she also liked the early morning hours to spend by herself, preparing herself for the day. most of portly, having a chance to indulge in one of her novels. although this was a presidential home, it is the home of a family. abigail, instead of having servants do all the work, even as a first lady, she would also be contributing to the kitchen and running of the household. this is something she continued throughout her life no matter what her position was. she was very involved. she had children and grandchildren visiting. it was an active and lively household. she spent a great deal of time writing. again, their misfortune was our fortune. askingletter when he is
her to come to philadelphia, abigail would write of the room that she was in and the view that she saw. the beauty that unfolds outside the window thames' me to forget the past. this is an indication that while abigail was back here, she was on a new beginning as the first lady of the united states, as the wife of the president, and still a mother. she would describe life. so romantically that john adams would reply in one of his letters, oh my sweet little farm, what i would do to enjoy thee without interruption. >> of the four years of his presidency, how much time did she spend their vs. the capitol? >> she had to stay there for an extended time. john actually followed her and stayed there, too long according to his cabinet. as tried to stay there for
much time as she could. again, her health caused her to be at home. she was quite ill. she was possibly close to death during that time. >> how did he serve as chief executive from afar? >> this also happened during the vice presidency. when congress was needed, the vice president would go back to where he lived. especially during the summer, they would usually lead in the spring and come back in the fall. it was a seasonal thing. although he did overdo it a little bit during this time. it was not unusual for the president to be away. >> these were very trying and tent -- tempestuous years for a brand new nation. can you give us a sense of the history, what was happening during the adams key policyion, issues? >> the major problems were international.
you had a political tiffs. you had the creation of political parties. we had problems with the french, the british. american political parties were divided, pro-french, pro- british. one of the problems john had was keeping the country out of war. he was successful. i think that is probably the thing that he should be most recognized for during the period. >> i also find it ironic that he is one of president who kept out of four -- war. the u.s. would have collapsed a second war with britain. it subverted his career. the politicians of the time were like politicians forever, they enjoyed making the exercise of war. there were very close to war. the population in general was outraged by the piracy, american ships were being -- on seas.en
diplomats were being treated poorly in france in particular. the french revolution happened. chief justice john marshall selected. i want to go back to the passage of the alien and sedition act. what is the view of both adamses on this? >> some people thought we were about to be overrun by french revolutionaries and the a were influencing people in america. there were rumors that cities would be burned.
it was terrorism they were anticipating. for example, the opposition party, the democratic republican party was very enthusiastic about the french and some of the ideals of the french revolution. >> jefferson in particular. >> this is where they begin to go in different directions. also, some of the press is very vehement in their criticism of the administration. so they muzzled the press and said that this is probably the thing that john adams is most criticized for. abigail, i believe, supported john. abigail was even more vehement during i think she is even more conservative than john during that time.
were making up stories that were not the truth europe adams was very seriously worried about this. jefferson -- that were not the truth. adams was very seriously worried about this. jefferson felt that the states should be passing the alien and sedition laws. he was very much in favor of the states. at that time, people did not have the same or about suppressing the press that we have today. >> it was in the heat of the moment. rex right. >> stephen from chicago. >> they say history repeats itself. i was wondering if there any presidents and first ladies or first couples that most resemble or are analogous of the adams is -- of the adamses? is that the relationship standard? >> i hope you will take that question.
[laughter] >> there was no one else like abigail and john. thet of all, we don't have insight into anybody else's lives. recentlyters were revealed. lyndon johnson's love letters lady bird were revealed. but there is nothing like the abigail and john exchange. [laughter] >> it is when they are situated in such a important time and there were so many players in so many stages. that is what sets them apart. this is from twitter.
>> people came by, but not so much during the presidency. there is a time when john is really quite ancient. and it is some time at your abigail has passed. cadets from west point came and they had a band and they played and marched and they were served punch and john adams gave a talk -- a patriotic talk to the troops. occasionally, people would come by. in they did not entertain the sense of politically entertaining. it was family for the most part. >> at mount vernon and the washingtons, they seem to be constantly be welcoming people to their house. >> people wanted to be close to the president. social standards would different than. and standards of hospitality
were different. if someone came to your door, you just didn't turn them away. although they might like to have done so. >> they continue to read letters during the time they were separated? >> she did. when she is with john, it isn't that she's at writing letters. she is writing letters to other people. while he was president, two of their children were in europe on a diplomatic mission. so there are a lot of letters between thomas boylston and john quincy adams to their especially to abigail, and she writes to her sister.
she writes wonderful letters to her sisters who were back in acid usage and new hampshire. >> -- who were back in massachusetts and new hampshire. >> i have been much diverted with little occurrence and it shows how little founded in nature the so much posted notion of liberty and equality is. neighbor paxon came in and requested to speak to me. his errand was to inform me that, if james went to school, it would rick at the school because the other lads refused to go. why, mr. paxton? has the boy misbehaved? there was no problem at that time. they refused to go to school with a black wife. it continues on in this vein saying that they allowed him to play at the dance and they would still go. and she closes this section saying, "the boy is a free man
as much as any of the young men. and as because his face is black he is not to be denied instruction. is this the way we would have done to others as we would have done to us? >> she is hoping to influence his thinking. how concerned was he with rights and equality's at his point in his presidency? >> it is a little different thing. this is jean who she is talking about, who it is -- who is an adams servant. james was a special person to abigail. one abigail goes to philadelphia a few months after this, john goes don't bring james. he didn't want blacks in philadelphia as his servant. not really clear why, but i think he sensed that they could
be corrupted. her were much fewer blacks in massachusetts. and there were more blacks and slaves in philadelphia. he said don't have them -- don't have him come beyond new york. he says, you have a beat him. i think she taught him to read. i don't know that she was instructing john adams so much on this as that she was showing her love and affection for james as an individual his race. of >> here is something from our viewers. it looks like she is quoting a letter from john to abigail. do you have any thoughts on that that's -- on that? >> it is a wonderful quote.
they had no idea there would be a war. they may have suspected there would be a war. they had no idea of its duration or that it would separate the colonies. we would have to go back and view it from their point of view. he is saying we don't know what is going to happen. >> we said at the outset that she was criticized by the press who sometimes used the phrase to describe her as mrs. president. what is the context of that reference? >> the context is the spirit is -- these. press at the time. he was the american minister to great attend. she was accustomed to happen -- she was accustomed to having
those relations with the press. >> did she complain to family members about this? was she hurt by the way she was treated in the press? >> i think she was more defensive about her husband. abigail did not have great ambition for herself, but she had great ambition for john and for boys. but particularly for john quincy adams. and she was very defensive of them. i think this is one of the reasons why the relationship with jefferson is so difficult because she had really loved thomas jefferson as a friend and she believed jefferson turned on her husband. rex how did she express herself -- >> how did she express her
support of her husband? >> she went there. she was with him all of the time. when he needed her, she was there. >> was there an avenue for her to respond to the press? >> not that i can think of. her avenues to responding to the press was that she was in favor of the sedition laws. she liked the idea of curtailing the press. >> let's take our next phone call from oka raton, florida. >> good program. thank you for taking my call. i am a member of the press. for two colors tonight kind -- to callers tonight kind of insinuated that she was not a good matter. i believe john quincy was a leading abolitionist and here we are following american history. whether it is the kkk doing their thing in the south today,
the john birch society, the tea party now which is 97% caucasian, can we at least give abigail -- throw her a bouquet of roses and say that she might have influenced john quincy in terms of the color of a man's skin should not be placed -- >> john quincy lived with her until he was 11 years old. then he went to europe with john. she did not see him again until he was 17 or 18. so he became a man. >> under the tutelage of his father. >> but she was very influential in the first 11 years. i balk at this tendency to blame the mother every time something goes wrong with the children.
circumstances happen. there are genes. there is possibly a genetic disposition to alcoholism in that family. abigail's brother died of it and there were apparently other family members. hervolution happened when children grew up. they grew up in wartime. that can be very damaging to children's psyches. >> the year 1800 was a very, very difficult year for the adamses. a campaign for reelection hard- fought. thomas jefferson, he lost that good the year that he moved to the white house. and they also lose theirs -- they also lost their son. let's talk about the decision to run for office again.
did abigail support this? wewe don't have as much as had in the decision for the previous election where they agonized over it. it went back and forth. there are letters -- should i or shouldn't i? i don't have as much of that for the second term. part of it was, because by this time the political parties were so strong, he felt he didn't want the other party in. he wanted to follow through with what he was doing. even though there were several bad things happening around or to the adams family during that time, actually, in 1800, he had one of his great successes. the convention with the french that ended the undeclared war. >> i would also emphasize that
the political parties were not written into the constitution. and washington and adams both and many of the people around them did not anticipate political parties. they thought they had a constitution. they had a government. itrybody would agree to would be harmonious. it did not work out that way. and it was a surprise to them. it was a surprise to adams that there was so much dissension during his administration. >> they lived the last four months of his administration as occupants of the white house. it looks pretty miserable. what was life like in the mansion for the adamses? >> it was pretty miserable. they didn't have heat. they had to gather wood in that
area. the mansion was not finished when they moved in. abigail describes georgetown as a swamp. the city was not yet built. they moved in before there was a proper white house. also, i think it affected the way she entertained. it affected her entire role as for slater -- first lady. it's limited what she could do in that drafty, cold, incomplete house. >> it must have been shared misery by the members of congress who were arriving in the city. >> most of them lived in rooming houses and boarding houses. it was seasonal. congress came and went. there weren't a lot of people who lived year-round in washington at that time. >> we have this graphic we have been showing of laundry being
hung inside the white house. did that really happen? >> i don't know here in >> i don't either. it sounds like abigail [indiscernible] >> it would not have been a good place to drive -- to dry laundry because it was drafty and cold. >> we talked about charles dying. anymore on how that affected her and the death of the sun in that turbulent year? heartachea terrible for her and for him. >> he did write to jefferson in later years that it was the greatest grief of my life. >> jan from boise. >> thank you for putting on this series. i am curious about what role religion played in her life given that her father was a pastor.
my sense is that john was raised with more calvinist bent, but was more unitary as an older man. what about abigail? >> thank you for that question. abigail was a very religious woman. was so religious that in times of turbulence, when things went wrong and her life, she thought it was punishment. there was an epidemic during the years when john was a way that people were dying. her servants were sick. this is a scourged sent upon us. believed alive was providential. she referenced the bible. bad, she became more religious.
and more conservatively religious. she was probably more conservative and john adams. a few minutes left in our discussion but with our guests here. when john adams realize he lost the presidency, how did he take that? >> by the time the vote was counted, they knew that he was not going to be reelected. i think they were disappointed. said was that he was always going retire and go back to the farm. in that sense, it wasn't so bad. i think it was the defeat of ideas and the revolution of 1800. it was such a dramatic change,
he did not attend the inauguration. some say it was because he was being spiteful. those of us that defend him say he had to catch an early stage. that heit was a man felt betrayed him. >> a couple that's been so many -- what were those years like for them? ideal lectinwere some ways and very difficult in other ways. they were very happy to be together.
>> of this is where it begins to sound like downton abbey. >> the daughter, she had a terrible husband. a day early on realized that they were constantly worried about her. >> from the perspective of your life's work, they stopped writing letters at that point? >> they stopped writing letters to each other. they were riding to john quincy adams, frequently away on diplomatic assignments. later will be the secretary of state in washington, the senator and other things. abigail has a sister that lives in new hampshire.
there isn't much correspondence there. >> she was close to her granddaughter, caroline. >> what was the relationship between the two? >> after the culture shock she encountered in new england after -- she was quite shocked by the people. >> she said it was like going on noah's ark. >> let's have a return where
they spent their final years. abigail enjoyed 17 years of retirement home with her husband. they could build on their children and grandchildren, enjoy the peace and tranquility that they offered them throughout their life. was inviting, sunday, and bright. abigail enjoyed many hours writing to her friends and family, enjoying time with her husband. on october 27 of 1818, she passed away from typhoid fever. she was 74 years old and john adams had lost his dearest friend. he would bend a letter to thomas jefferson letting him know that he lost his dear friend and he would say to his family, if only i could lie down beside her.
lifen you talk about his and after abigail died? >> john was surrounded by family and was not isolated. hostess in a caretaker, a niece that live with that for most of their lives. was always traffic through the house, and people came from boston. there was a lot going on during those years. not write those of letters -- own letters. orresponed on a c dence.
>> his great bitter enemies, coming to peace in the dying together on the anniversary of the declaration of independence. there is a question here about whether or not there was a blood lines still living for john and abigail? >> oh, yes. several.ar e they have been close over the centuries. the adams memorial association, i think they have more than 100 members. get questionstly from people thinking in believing that they are related or a descendant of john and abigail. there are many more descendants
than they think are possible. >> the atoms name gets lost. last caller,e our stephanie. >> i am wondering what became of her children after she died very young? did they remain with the adams? >> they were adults when she died. caroline was married. time, was married at the and the son was an adult. there were nos mall children. death at peace field. all right, we don't have that. we have very littel time left.
bringing this full circle for those that have been introduced, what is important to know about her? what was her impact or influence? we think back to the american revolution, she is the only woman -- her record of letters provide the only insight to what we have for the revolution in the sustained level during that entire period. significistorically ant. and what it was like to be not just first lady, but to be a wife and mother. a sister and daughter. >> i think the thing that i always think about is the relationship, the partnership.
there is no abigail. without the kind of support that , more important that he did not have to worry because she was so trustworthy that she could take care of things. it is exactly what she wanted. >> thank you for helping us understand more about the life and legacy of america's second first lady.
donaldson and anjelica van buren. span radio and online at c-span.org. tonight's conversation has yourdy been posted, post question beginning at 9:00 eastern. >> the third prize winners in conference --m contest. it focuses on an efficient government spending. $100,000, $1.8 million, $3 million -- [talking over each other]
dear president obama, the deficit is overwhelming and government spending is a huge part of the problem. we need a solution. about $45,000 a year, the federal government earns $2.50 trillion of year. there is a huge difference between these incomes. the american family spends about $47,000 a year, it is not justified by their budget. means 33% it is not justified
the so-called stimulus spending. >> what caused the debt to reach such a high point in the first place. >> we want welfare spending and all of the spending of the federal government. >> think about going to the mall with your dad credit-card. are limitations of the shopping trip, but in the they about a different way.
provide some programs and benefits. >> thou that we know where the problem began, the largest spending problem. spending we do is the tax code. we do far more tax giveaways than through a program like a farm subsidy program or a housing program. we will discuss based on the fact that most of the money we spend comes out of the department of defense. >> we spend so much more on
national defense than any country in the world. you could add up to many countries in the world and you would be hard-pressed to find military spending of equal power. spending withrol social security and medicare. is a place on the taxes and the payroll. programs are the significant spending problems that we have. they dwarf any problems we might dream up with regards to food stamps, welfare programs, social things thatl the are the traditional scapegoats for federal budget. is spent ony budget
small things like groceries. it makes a world of difference, turning back on defense. spending,can cut which programs would to redirect the money to? money to use the invest in this nation's infrastructure. >> i would cut spending to cut spending. theuld not redirect underfunded programs. children inok our the eye knowing that we are going to give them a diminished
future because we are spending their money today. >> you might be concerned about your future here. you will pick up the tab for your grandparents. >> we need a solution that will help of the road to recovery. >> we see a fiscal mess that affects all of us. the let the special interests stay outside. >> we need more accountability in terms of information about what government is spending. what it is spending taxpayer dollars on. we have to come together. it is only by working together that we will be able to address the nation's deficit problem.
>> find this video and other documentary's at studentcam.org. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> dolley was socially adept and politically savvy. >> she was his best friend. she compensated. >> james madison wishes to meet her. >> she carved out a space for women where they can wield a great deal of political power. >> dolley madison would sit at the head of the table and erect the conversation. >> she got these people to the white house and entertained them. got them together and got them talking. >> this was important to her to make everyone feel welcome. >> it was considered her classic look. people noticed it.
>> it was a perfect setting for james and dolley madison. withe sat side by side james madison helping him. >> she moved back to washington d.c. in her elder years and became very much behind the scenes in a political field again. >> as henry clay famously said, everybody loves mrs. madison. her equally famous response -- "that's because mrs. madison loves everybody." >> dolley madison came to her service as first lady with experience during thomas jefferson's two terms. the president often called on her to assist him. this sense of the usefulness of diplomacy allowed dolley to hit
the ball running. she assumed the role in 1809 as her husband james madison became the president. welcome. we will learn about the intriguing dolley madison. we have two guests at our table. let me introduce you to them. catherine allgor, an author and biographer of dolley madison. and a historian. one of her books is called "a perfect union." thank you for being here. edith mayo was the creator of the first lady's exhibit at the smithsonian. so many smithsonian visitors have seen this throughout the years. thank you for being here tonight. >> it is a pleasure. >> any 21st century woman who starts to read about dolley madison can see parallels to their own lives. in the way she seemed to
approach her role in washington. was she, in fact, ahead of her time? a sort of modern person in the early 1800's, or not? >> that is the paradox. she was raised in a certain culture. when she became first lady, she started adopting a path that paved the way for modernity. she also creates the first lady role that we have come to know. so every first lady, everyone from her all the way up, looked to her. so she opened the door for a lot of women. >> we are trying to show the parallels among them, how they handle things. what are some of the things that dolley madison contributed to the role? >> i think in our first segment about martha washington, you saw martha as the person who protected the aspect of the role, which was the social partner to the president, and hostess for the nation.
then when you get to abigail, she becomes a political partner with her husband and pioneers that role. dolley is the one that brings the two of them together. she becomes the social and political partner for her husband. i think that sets all kinds of precedents for the future first lady. she is kind of, still, held up as a standard by which people measure themselves today. >> we will spend the first 35 minutes on those important white house years. it was such an interesting time for the country and we want to make sure you understand the history of it. later on we will go back in time and learn about her biography, how this young quaker woman became an internationally known first lady and we will end up with her legacy. that's what tonight looks like. we welcome your
participation. throughout the program, we will have phone lines open. you can send us a tweet and use #firstladies. on we have a c-span page facebook. so lots of ways to add your voice to our discussion tonight. now, i have been getting e-mails from people wanting to know more about martha jefferson. they are saying, what happened? we skipped the third presidency? we talked about dolley madison's role. what happened to martha jefferson? >> she was not in the white house because she died very early on. she and jefferson were married for 10 years. then she died in childbirth. so he was a widower when he moved into the white house. and he needed someone to oversee these parties when both sexes were present. it was thought to be unseemly to entertain in mixed company if you did not have a partner present. so he would sometimes ask madison.
>> he did not entertain very much. >> he entertained in a private way. he did not have large entertainments like washington or adams or the madison spirit. >> the capital was getting used to that. >> i think there was criticism not because he was not as social, but because he did not invite the women as often as he did the men. he preferred to have a lot of male company and conduct actual political conversations. he also did away with all kinds of rank and protocol. which was very criticized at that time. but he wanted everyone to be treated as equals. he thought that's what the nation was all about. >> how important was the relationship between thomas
jefferson and the madisons? >> they were very important. james madison and thomas jefferson were very close political allies. it is natural when jefferson is elected. i want to say something about jefferson's social program. it is not an accident. he was not interested in power sharing. he was interested in securing his own political power. he had dinner parties with men of one party or the other. so he would sit with the republicans, as they were called, and he would rally his supporters. then there would be a dinner party with the opposition, the federalists, and that was all about keeping an eye on the enemy. the idea brought up about the lack of women, which was why her role in the jefferson administration is not the big
story of that time, he had seen women, and women at social events. he was horrified and shocked, especially about their political power, because it fell outside the official power. he cut off all the events and the white house was open only fourth of july and new year's day. that was partly because he wanted to curtail the power of women. there was something else going on at the white house, and that was dolley madison setting up the connection of networked she would bring to the white house. during the first year, the center of social and political life was not the white house, but the house on f street. >> here are a few bullet points about the country in 1810. when thomas jefferson took office. you remember last week, it was a 35% growth. so this country is booming. bursting at the seams. even though the seams were
smaller in those days. of those, 16% were slaves. the largest cities were new york city, philadelphia, baltimore, and bosnia. what should we know about the most important political events of the madison administration? what was the timelinelike and how important was dolley in helping navigate those times for her husband? >> the first story of two was the union. i think you are getting a sense of the early republic, it was a time of great anxiety. no one was sure this union was going to hold. people at the time would refer to the united states in the plural. they would say, the united states of america are. which signaled that it was not
dwight quite holding together. there was a fear it was holding a part. they called it regionalism, and later they call is sectionalism as they head to the civil war. so we know that nation is going to be a strong nation state, it is a democracy, and a two-party system and a strong president. that was none of the things the founders had intended. we look back and see that time as a time of growing pains. and we see dolley madison not knowing how this would end, was the perfect person to ease into the country and twa it was going to be. >> serving as the chief executive of the nation, he brought the real concept of how he wanted the role to be carried out. how did he approach it and how did she help him? >> well, you said "concept," and i think that's perfect, because he was the idea guy. he was very theoretical. he and other members of the founding generation understood
as a concept "unit." it was their number one job. how do you do it? how do you bring forth unity? what dolley madison did is take that concept and translate them into action. so she was enacting unit on the national stage. >> how? >> the first thing somebody alluded to in the beginning, she brought people together. every wednesday night, it does matter if the vice president has died, there will be a drawing room.
she put people in the room together. that sounds nice. this is about more than just nice. the early republic is a time of survival. the feeling of this union is exacerbated in washington because the all the regionalisms come together with, i would say, the most fractious congress we have ever had. these are people who did not just disagree with each other, but they dueled and fought each other industries and on the floors of congress. that is why bringing people twoth and treating each other as humans is not just lovely but crucial. >> this concept is exactly the kinds of things martha washington and abigail adams used. >> it is very different from what they had done. theirs is extremely formal. dolley's was much more open. you have everybody in dolley's drawing room able to have access to the chief executive and his
lady. that is very important for forging a unity in the united states. also, dolley creates, she starts out as the wife of the secretary of state. what she is doing is forging a social network on which politics and diplomacy could be conducted in a civilized manner through the ceremonial forms of dinners, receptions, parties, and so forth. some of these tensions and animosities that played themselves out in the halls of congress had a way of being resolved at parties. in an amicable way. she is really forging new networks that will work for both politics and society. >> this concept you write about in several books, the subtitle
is, the creation of the american nation. you write about the fact that the women of this class understood their power and their ability to be able to use social skills to build the nation. >> the founders understood the american revolution was more than a political revolution they were going to build the world anew. that meant everything was under consideration. they were going to score and eliminate everything of the old world. they came from kings and monarchies and courts. they turn to the women, and this is a political theory. it says that, in a culture, laws can come and go. what they call manners stay. manners are the way people treat each other and how they regard each other and how they behave. this is very appealing to the new americans. for one thing, they are inventing a whole bunch of laws they
are not sure people will buy, and they need people to behave. the phrase they used was republican virtue. and that is republican with a small "r." that meant people would put the interests of the country before themselves. how do you get people to do that? they looked to the women of the class to start enforcing national matters. these white women of the cities were very conscious of that. >> here are the phone lines. if you live in the eastern or central time zones, our number is 202-585-3880. mountain time 202-585-3881. please dial carefully. we will take calls and another 10 minutes. this is a facebook question. i will turn to you has a long time curator of first
ladies. the early first ladies for excellent writers, writing hundreds of notes in their lifetimes. in what condition are these early letters? we saw thousands of letters last week. but what about dolley madison? what did she preserved? did she have a sense of her legacy? >> i think she did have a sense of her legacy. i think is he is writing to her sister as the british were coming to burn the white house. she is telling her sister what she is doing and what she is saving so there will be something to put in the history books. she wants it known she is saving the documents, the important pieces of silver, the portrait of george washington for which she is so famous, but she is writing as everything is being packed to be carted off to virginia for safety. so she is very aware of what she is doing, and she writes a number of letters to her family
members. >> i want to weigh in. we know as historians, this is the heart of what we do. these are the primary sources. for a long while, to find dolley's actual letters was really hard to do. but in the 1990's holly shulman at the university of virginia and another person began collecting her papers and published them in a lovely book. but there is now a web master of dolley madison, so these are the papers that are really crucial. we also have writing from her niece. mary writes about her aunt. a lot of those stories, which must have come from dolley herself, which tells us that later in her life, she is getting a sense of her legacy. she cannot intrude upon the
public notice as a man would, but she gave her these memoirs, which have now been published for the first time. people can read those. >> we have a video to show you throughout the night of places that were important to dolley madison. if you go on tour at the white house, you see a room called the red room. it was important to dolley madison. let's watch. >> the portrait of dolley madison hangs in the red room. she sits in a red chair. red fabrics complemented the fabric in her chair. she is an inspiration for that room. the red room was, in fact, wrell yellow under dolley madison. the red color was introduced in 1820's and 1830's. the furniture of the period 'twas was from the american empire. it would have been that style in her lifetime. two of the most interesting in the room are the bust of martin van buren, and the portrait of
his daughter in law. angelica, that has the white marble bust painted into the back ground. and the fact that dolley madison is connected to that store years later. when president van buren was inaugurated, president madison had died the year before and she had moved back to washington. she was the most important woman in washington. president van buren was a widower. dolley madison basically introduced angelica to her husband to be, the president's eldest son. she became the hostess for the white house. in the chain of first ladies, she is strictly a wife largely as a result of dolley madison doing matchmaking. >> what condition was the white house and washington, d.c. as a new capital city? >> well, washington, d.c. was a very muddy place. abigail had written home it was the very dirties hall of a place that she had ever been in her life. the rooms were rutted, the
houses were separated, far apart. itis not like we think of today at all. it is very rudimentary. so i think part of what she is doing is building a social network among the women so that a lot of this is overlooked for andtics and diplomacy fashion, can carry people over the int that we are not living some fantastic capital of the world. >> question on twitter, did dolley know abigail adams? >> yes. she was there. this is one of the stories her niece said when james madison was courting dolley, martha washington confronted her and
asked if it was true what they say. she said, i think it is wonderful. even if he is much older than you. hat is interesting about abigail is there is one letter, i think 1816, so quite far into abigail's life, and she writes asking for a favor of dolley madison and now though we have not had the opportunity to meet, so you know they did not actually meet. but she was writing to give a job to a relative. sometimes you study women's history. it is a huge patronage network. men will not accept patronage, it is too royal, too rupt. here we have wives and daughters playing on patronage the whole
time. we have one moment where we have a former first lady and president's wife asking another for patronage. >> that was part of what was thought of as a first lady's role at the time. >> who were some of her biggest congressional allies of the time? >> henry is the famous one. the reason we know about him, it gives you a glimpse of behind the curtain and how politics works. leading up to the war of 1812, james madison was not sure he wanted to go to war. he was so secretive about it, scholars disagree. some thought he did want to go to work, and some thought he did not. he had to walk a fine line. he needed allies. he had dolley do it. he had famous stories. we have to look at these things as a form of political analysis. he shared about the snuff box.
you have to look -- the people at the time weren't just saying, look at dolley madison and henry clay. they were trying to read the energy. she courted people on both sides of the aisle. that was a good thing about her. people knew there was something up in the air. >> our c-span web site is rerobust on the first ladies. there will be a special feature each week you can see only on the web. if you go there tonight, you can see how dolley madison's snuffbox. how important was snuff to her? >> she was addicted, i'm afraid. >> this is one of the modern
concepts. the women patriots knew how to use their own power for the sake of our young country. wives wishing to please their husbands. >> perhaps a little of each. i think these women were very away of their place in history. particularly if you are a first lady. even early on, you know you are centrally positioned to influence aspects of pligs politics. i think they probably would never have used the term feminism or feminist, but i think they knew exactly what they were doing. and they enjoyed wielding the power that was given to them. >> the first question comes from scotty in tennessee. are you there? >> i am calling in the show for the first time. >> welcome. >> thank you. did she know anything about the affair he had with hemmings? >> the big story for her is not
helping thomas jefferson as a hostess. we do not know anything much about dolley madison. there is a story i read about paul jennings, james madison's body servant. the first person to write a white house memoirs. he was a slave. there was a story that dolley madison asked henry, name one of her sons after james madison. in this rendition of the story, she does not get the gift. >> in a related question from twitter, what was dolley madison's opinion of thomas jefferson and did the madisons ever visit monticello?
>> i think they visited back and forth. they were good friends and knew each other for many years. maybe you have more information on that. what is the distance between their home and monticello? >> is a little ways. when we talk about retirement years, the few times james madison leaves his beloved is to visit thomas jefferson. i would say we do not know the true opinion of a lot of people of dolley madison because she was very cautious. thomas jefferson seemed to love her, even though she is conducting a social circle under his nose and nobody hated like thomas ever since. the fact that he adored dolley speaks volumes about her. >> catherine is up next. >> thank you for taking my call. my question is,
i know that dolley madison was raised a quaker and her first husband was a quaker. and was a member of the friends church, and then she left it and married james madison. i read stories about her father freed slaves and testimony to abolition of slavery. i was wondering, how do you think her quaker upbringing influenced her as a first lady. >> i will cut to the chase. we do not know enough about her childhood. my theory on this is one of the central tenets of quakerism is to record people as god. dolley goes on to become -- that is why they do not use titles. dolley became famous for being empathetic and warm.
she would talk to people as if they were the only person in the room, and i think that came from her quakerness. >> and i believe the reason she was able to take on this role so well is because she believed men and women were equal. so you don't get any sense from her of being lesser than. she fits right in and built her name. i think that comes from her quaker background as well. >> the first white house allocated a salary. was it still that much at the time? >> i do not know. >> most presume it was. it was about $1.10 million today. that is a lot. similar to what we pay presidents today. who paid for all these social functions?
did they have to pay out of their own salaries for all the events we are talking about? >> yes. this was the time that was part of the deal going into public service. this is why rich white men were supposed to take on the burden of public serve because it came out of the public pocket. the madisons were not the first presidential couple to leave much poorer than when they came in. there was quite a hefty amount given to her to redo the mansion, which she did very well and spend the money very well. >> a furnishing budget. the previous occupants had brought their own furniture in many instances. then when they left the presidency, they took it home with them. jefferson was one of those who did that. washington when he was in new york and philadelphia. thathis was the thing dolley wanted to do because she thought that it needed a stately, elegant look for the new nation. so they took the decorating
very, very seriously and wanted to make it look as if it could be on what equal terms with the powers of europe so that they could conduct diplomatic negotiations in a proper setting. >> it sounds to me, there is a constant push and pull between wanting to be seen as equal. but at the same time -- >> a real dichotomy. >> it is one of the reasons we look at women, as well. it gets resolved with women. you have the revolution and the fight against everything it stands for, but now you have the nation. how are you going to speak with legitimacy and authority? the only power they have is royalty. we have strange moments and they go back and forth. john adams is arguing for titles of the presidency. the women of these families took it on.
mr. washington is mr. president. martha washington is lady washington. james madison is mr. president. dolley is queen dolley. veryen have to travel this strict line, but the women get to have an aristocratic title. that is one of the messages she is sending out the women at that time, and it was understood a lot at the beginning of that is predicated on loyalty. >> a lot of people called her president. >> who called her queen dolley? >> a lot of people. >> she dressed a queen. she looked every inch a queen. sometimes they say she looked libling a -- like a bride and a queen.
so her elegance of dress, she bought a lot of her material in paris. so she is very elegantly dressed, and she looks to american eyes as a queen. and that's fine, because she is not the head of state. she is walking a very fine line where she expresses the finer things to which the nation aspires. she is not royalty. she is always walking a very fine line down the middle. >> you provided a wonderful segue to our next video. >> oh, did i? >> it is at mont pilliar which is the restored home of the madisons and open for tours. put it on your list if you ever get to virginia. they have a display that talks about dolley madison's dresses. we will show you that now.
>> most of the dresses we have at the visitor's center are based on descriptions we have of the way she dressed. one dress we own is a recreation of something that we still have. this is typical of the style of the day. classical lines. it was much more simple and elegant than the fashion before or after. this is the style she would have worn while she was first lady. it is the regency style. many of the dresses were more elegant. this represents what she wore at her inaugural. this was james madison's first
inaugural. at the ball she wore what was described as a simple bust velvet. she wore pearls. that was something more classically elegant but less ostentatious than the diamonds you would normally find in the courts of europe. dolley was setting a style that was unique to american fashion. a lot of people think she set the fashion of the turban. that is not quite true. it began in persia and moved to france and england. but dolley popularized the style, and that was considered her classic look. she would wear some extravagant turban often topped with feathers on her head. people notice it. sometimes, they thought her fashion was a little too regal. there was one instance where she some -- in her turban. people said this was overstepping things. she looked to wriggle into queenly. they were afraid queen dolley was setting the wrong tone. toward the end of her life, she wore many of the fashions she wore in her earlier day. some of this may have been to evoke that american founding. she was the last living
matriarch of the generation. some of it was because of the growing tenury in her life. she did not have the money to where the latest fashions. she had to where many of her old clothes and repurpose them. she had several paintings made of her final days. she is often wearing the same thing. >> one other thing we should mention is for her time, she was quite tall. >> she was. i think she was 5' 7" and a half, and maybe taller than her husband. >> i have an image of the two of them standing next to each other. dolley in her turbans and james madison in the style of the revolution.
it does not work. >> and it became politicized, so a lot of the criticism toward the madisons focused on james madison being so tiny and pygmie-like. this was a time where political authority was male. thomas jefferson, big and tall. washington was described as a hunk. and then this little tiny guy. he probably had his press secretary coming out, saying he is 5' 6," and he is not. size mattered. her heights and good health led to rumors of her sexuality. that she was overtly sexual, and that she was, in their words, too taut, and the reason the -- reason they never had children wasbecause she was -- he burning up his energies.
you realize things were quite serious. >> she was also during the campaign accused of having an affair with jefferson because she had been his hostess on various occasions. they extrapolated into a personal affair. >> were able to put that to rest? >> i think they were. he would not have been re- elected if people had actually thought that that accusation was the truth. >> there were questions about dolley madisons approach to her image and the way she dressed. was this a conscious decision to stand apart as opposed to personal taste or vanity? in was creating a brand, other words? >> yes. you have to look at the context.
this is a new nation. we know it is very fragile. there is not a lot of bureaucracy or structure. that was delivered. there was not a lot of structure. people at the time focused on the personalities and on the figure of the person. we have all the descriptions of george washington. they talk about his grandeur and all this stuff. it seems like george washington is posing for statues. in the republic, it becomes dolley and descriptions of her are on the move. it does not sound as much like "fashion police" but a form of political analysis. she deliberately created this. she is not wearing what an actual queen would wear, but would wear an adaptation. what she would imagine america would consider a queen, and she put that on her turban to make her even taller. >> how would americans react to this? the newspapers had reports with